Category Archives: roadtrips

It’s For The Best You Didn’t Listen

Considering that the only thing I have to do this weekend, school-wise, is to study for a test (as opposed to the usual agenda of study for a test and write a 17 page research paper and finish up 500 other things), this Sunday is more like a regular Sunday instead of an “Oh goodness, I want to die right now” Sunday.

As such, here’s a Sunday song for y’all.

Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights, I call it a draw
Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle
Some nights, I wish they’d just fall off

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for
Oh, what do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore

This is it, boys, this is war
What are we waiting for?
Why don’t we break the rules already?
I was never one to believe the hype
Save that for the black and white
I try twice as hard and I’m half as liked, but here they come again to jack my style

And that’s alright
I found a martyr in my bed tonight
She stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am
Oh, who am I? Oh, who am I?

Well, some nights, I wish that this all would end
‘Cause I could use some friends for a change
And some nights, I’m scared you’ll forget me again
Some nights, I always win, I always win

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for
Oh, what do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know

So this is it? I sold my soul for this?
Washed my hands of that for this?
I miss my mom and dad for this?

No. When I see stars, when I see, when I see stars, that’s all they are
When I hear songs, they sound like this one, so come on
Oh, come on. Oh, come on. Oh, come on.

Well, this is it guys, that is all
Five minutes in and I’m bored again
Ten years of this, I’m not sure if anybody understands
This one is not for the folks at home
Sorry to leave, mom, I had to go
Who the fuck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?

My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she call “love”
But when I look into my nephew’s eyes…
Man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things that can come from
Some terrible lies

The other night, you wouldn’t believe the dream I just had about you and me
I called you up, but we’d both agree
It’s for the best you didn’t listen
It’s for the best we get our distance
It’s for the best you didn’t listen
It’s for the best we get our distance

Put on your sunglasses, get in your car, hit the interstate, and turn it up.

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Out Of Control Cravings

Closest Bruegger’s: Tallahassee, FL… Please send me a Rio Grande Wrap.
Closest Chipotle:  Somewhere between 100 and forever miles away… Please send me a chicken burrito bowl with corn, all three salsas, and cheese.
Closest Dunkin’ Donuts: Somewhere between 50 and forever miles away… Please send me a large iced coffee with sugar and skim milk.
Closest place for good Indian food: I have no idea. But it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna be anywhere within a reasonable distance… PLEASE SEND ME SOME NAAN.

Relevant: The closest Ikea is in Atlanta. And it costs $299 to ship this $129 bookshelf to my apartment. Looks like I’m going on a roadtrip next week. Maybe Atlanta will also have all those other things that Mobile is lacking and I can get my fix all at once.

A Turning Point In American History

Everyone should wrap themselves in an American flag and run through the streets right now.

Clint Dempsey pulled off a hat trick today vs. Newcastle. Why is this a big deal? He was the FIRST AMERICAN to do it in a Premier League game. USA USA USA!

I’m wondering if it’s overkill to wear my Dempsey jersey every day this week.

To me, this is like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. One small step for Clint Dempsey, one giant step for American soccer players and fans.

Soccer is the greatest game ever invented. It does seem kind of boring at first. But then as you watch more of it, and you’re able to take it all in, you start to pick up on the subtleties that make it the most exciting thing you will ever watch. Even if only 1 goal is scored the whole time, a regular game is so intense/emotional/heartbreaking/exhilarating. It makes people fall off couches and dance on bars.

I need more people to love it. Like if you think watching a Steelers game with yinzers at any yinzer bar in Pittsburgh is an exciting time, you should watch a soccer game with any group of non-Americans when their favorite team is on. I was in Chile for a few of their World Cup qualifier games. That’s the moment I knew I was in love. A lifetime of growing interest became full-blown love at some point during that summer.

There are some rabid soccer fans in the US too. It’s just kind of difficult to find them. If you live in Pittsburgh, Piper’s is the place to be. I don’t think there’s anything like that even close to Mobile, unfortunately.

I’ve tried to arbitrarily pick a Premier League team to love but since I have no real ties to any of the teams, it’s just not the same. I still love to watch it because it’s beautiful and mindblowing but I’m never really emotionally invested in it. I kind of passively follow MLS soccer but it’s kind of the same deal. I don’t really have a team because they’re relatively few and far between and also, the skill level is obviously not at the Premier League level. It’s like watching any college sports game between two teams you don’t care about. Still cool if you’re interested in that sport, but not really as exciting/engaging.

I need more people in the US to care so that we can have all kinds of formidable players and more more MLS teams and more sponsorship and game attendance. Get interested then throw money at it! Because it will be just as cool/profitable to play here as in Europe.

And most importantly, we’ll win the World Cup. The day we win the World Cup will actually be the best damn day of my life. Forget all those other life landmarks like the day you get married and the day you buy your first house and the day your first kid is born and the day you get promoted to CEO. When the US men’s team wins the World Cup, I am going to quit my job and celebrate for an entire month. And I don’t care if I’m 90 when it happens. This is going to happen in my lifetime. I refuse to die until I see it happen.

I was too young to remember when the women did it in 1991. But I sure as hell remember when they did it in 1999. It inspired a nation. And as a (just barely) 12 year old girl, it inspired me to just be awesome in general. On July 10, 1999, I learned that women are just as badass as men. I think the women on that team are still my heros. This is how I feel every time I accomplish something awesome:

(That’s iconic shit. I wish it was more appropriate to rip off your shirt in public and drop to the ground. I’d probably do it a lot.)

ESPN says they’re still the best, too.

The women’s team won again in 2003. And almost won last year. That quarterfinal game was absolutely THE BEST thing I have ever watched. I’ve never felt such explosive joy and maybe never will again. I’ve never gone from “Oh my God, this is hopeless and I’m OUTRAGED” (because there was ALL KINDS OF BS going down in that game) to “HOLYFUCKINGFUCKICANTBELIEVETHEYPULLEDTHATOFFOURTEAMISAMAZINGANDNOONEELSECOULDHAVEDONETHATTHISISTHEBESTDAYOFMYLIFEUSAUSAUSA” so fast in my life.

10 players from the 66th minute to the end? NO PROBLEM. I still get all riled up about this obviously. I could rewatch that game over and over and over again. Pretty sure I had a 10 foot vertical jump that day. I also remember just collapsing on the floor after it was all over. I probably shed a tear. The moment is forever burned into my brain. It’s PROOF that you can overcome situations that are blatantly unfair and still succeed. I haven’t given up on anything since.

Then they beat France (psh, easy) but lost to Japan in the final. Sad. Until I found out that the women on Japan’s national team only practice at night and basically have to keep part-time jobs on the side to pay the bills because they don’t sell a lot of tickets to games and don’t get endorsements or sponsorships or anything due to lack of popularity. (http://hararie-japan-tokyo-tokyo.com/japanese_culture/2011/08/post-1.html)

Plus, there was the whole tsunami thing and it was a huge morale boost for the country. Sometimes it’s ok for my team to lose. This is one of those times. Job well done, Japan.

Anyway, soccer… love it, please. More fans –> more players –> more good players –> more teams. I want an MLS team to live and die by. For awhile, I was kind of a Liverpool fan by default just because Matt is arbitrarily a Liverpool fan. Since that was the only reason I rooted for them, I obviously could care less about them at this point. Maybe I’ll become a Chelsea fan. That would be cathartic.

Back to Clint Dempsey. Can I get a print of this for my office?

That’s him scoring the 3rd goal. THAT’S HISTORY.

Start watching some US men’s games. Even if you actually end up not liking soccer, you can at least have a good time watching Tim Howard yell at the subpar backfield every time they fail. I love Tim Howard. He saves our ass all the damn time. We’d be nothing without him. He’s so good. SO GOOD.

In other sports news… Pens game last night. I didn’t watch it but after my phone started blowing up, debilitating homesickness set in because I wanted so badly to have been watching it with everyone. Sports-related things are responsible for 99% of my acute homesickness episodes. It was an explosive joy type of game, apparently. As we all know, those are my favorite. I only saw the highlights. But they were damn good highlights. First of all, Letang is BACK and so are the Pens. Praise Jesus. Second of all, MALKIN FOR MVP! Incredible performance. And he’s scored 8 goals in the last 10 games or something like that. I think I need to name my first kid Geno. That’s probably something you have to bring up right after the proposal while your husband-to-be is still elated (immediately after he proposes… basically during the actual proposal). This is how the scenario plays out in my head…

– Of course I’ll marry you. We’re going to name our first kid Geno.
– I love you so much that it doesn’t matter. And let’s name the dog Letang.

And now, here’s something that’s not sports related at all. Geography lesson!

Where is Alabama? I think y’all need some assistance with this.

Drew called me the other day. The beginning of the conversation went like this…

Drew: When do you have a 4 day weekend or any time off? We have to go to Odessa.
Me: Where the hell is that?
Drew: Texas. I figured that since you live in Alabama, I could just get you on the way.
Me: Do you know where Alabama is?
Drew: Close to Texas.
Me: Not really. There are TWO states in between. It takes like 8 hours to get to just the state line, I think. Why do we need to go anyway?
Drew: Grandma Lane was born there. I need to connect with my roots. She hasn’t been back since the late 70s. I think it’d be cool to meet some new extended family and see if her old house is still there. And I need to get out of NY. I’ve also heard good things about the taco trucks.

While he’s talking about this, I’m Googling Odessa. It’s almost on the other freaking side of the state.

Me: It’s a 16 hour trip from Mobile!
Drew: What really? I looked at it on a map. It didn’t seem like it’d be that long. I thought you said it was 16 hours from Pittsburgh to Mobile. It can’t be that long from Mobile to Odessa.
Me: DO YOU KNOW HOW BIG TEXAS IS?
Drew: No, but how do you? You’ve never been there before either.
Me: … Well, it looks pretty damn big on a map. And Google confirmed that it’s pretty damn big.
Drew: Ok, so not happening during a 4 day weekend. Maybe a half-day trip after ACL Fest?

(Austin is 6 hours from Odessa, according to Google Maps. Sigh.)

And then today, Kelly was like “I just looked at a map and Alabama is not where I thought it was. Definitely going to apparate,” when she was looking into travel options for visiting me in April.

I love you guys. Forever.

However, so that there’s no more confusion as to where I’ve gone, here’s a map of the United States of America. Alabama is circled in red. Everyone take note of where it is in reference to you. Pennsylvania and New York are circled in green. For Drew, Texas is circled in blue. (Notice how much bigger the Texas circle is compared to Alabama. And even the circle that includes both New York AND Pennsylvania.

Also, Drew… please make sure you look at a map of the world before you suggest that we go find your long lost relatives in Veracruz and swim across the Gulf of Mexico to get there.

It also maybe needs to be noted that Mobile is at the very bottom of Alabama. Here’s a map in case you have any questions about the actual location of my city. It’s circled in red.

Various And Sundry

Prepare for the onslaught. There’s a lot of stuff in here. I’m considering putting an index at the beginning so you can just skip to what you want haha.

Just to get this out of the way, here’s the Ryan Adams road mix that I promised to post forever ago.

And I think I might do my nursing practicum in the neuro ICU. It just feels like the right decision which is weird because I didn’t think I’d feel so inclined toward something so early. I wanna test reflexes every two hours. I think being an orthopedic surgical nurse would be sweet too though. I love muscles and bones. It seems like everyone else in my program wants to do labor and delivery. I’m personally terrified (probably irrationally) of that clinical rotation. I’m pretty sure I can handle most types of trauma and all the blood and/or exposed insides that comes with it but I know for a fact that I can’t handle a dead baby. It’s too devastatingly sad. They didn’t get a chance to live AT ALL. The second saddest thing in the world is a mom who died giving birth to a baby. And I know that most moms/babies are ok. But everyone sees at least either a dead mom or a dead baby during their OB/L&D rotation and I am definitely not looking forward to it. I’m too emotionally weak. The other thing that’s appealing about the neuro ICU is that it’s quiet and calm but there’s also a lot of pressure because people are only in the ICU if they’re in some kind of critical condition. I need pressure or else my life falls apart.

Homesickness update: still hasn’t stopped. It’s ups and downs. Last night when I was out, I heard Don’t Stop Believing and then Bohemian Rhapsody and I really just wanted to be drunk singing at Bar11 with everyone in Pittsburgh instead of people in Mobile. And I think the reason I’m homesick for the first time ever is because of how things were when I left (with the whole “not really being on good terms with some people because of the Matt aftermath tension” thing) and the subsequent realization that we didn’t really have the long-term friendships that I thought we did. So, it’s not just that I’m sad I’m not in Pittsburgh right now. It’s moreso the fact that when I go back, it’s not going to be the same at all. I’m more sad about the end of an era than I am about being in Alabama because I do actually freaking love it here. Yesterday, I had something that was basically the equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon, a crab cake, and a fried green tomato. Previously, I thought that whiskey was the most delicious thing in the world. This grilled cheese crab cake thing was better. Whiskey, you are now #2.

I also realized how much I love being single in my mid-twenties and forced to meet new people and have new experiences as a result of this move. I have a closet full of little black dresses and definitely more heels and pearls than I need and I love living it up right now because I know this moment is fleeting. These are  my Audrey Hepburn days or something and I’m going out with as many charming southern men as I can before they’re over. Although, I still feel weird about the guys always opening doors for me and such. I don’t know if that will ever go away. I also kind of feel bad that I have no intentions to be serious with any of them. You’d really have to hardcore sweep me off my feet to get me into a relationship right now. I’m way too broken for that currently.

“Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell,” Holly advised him. ‘That was Doc’s mistake. He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they’re strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you’ll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky.”
– Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote

And JoePa’s first interview is up. And I have that sickness in my stomach again. And my heart hurts a little again. But not as bad as before. I feel like the interview isn’t resolving anything for me. Probably because the whole thing is just irresolvable and I’ll forever have mixed feelings about it.

Football isn’t life. Sports aren’t life. But I’m weirdly starting to realize that they’re probably more important than I want to admit. They’re so socially and culturally critical to me. And also in general, I guess. As a Latin American Studies kid in college, we always talked about the soccer culture and it’s importance in Central and South America. And we know what sports ancient civilizations used to play and how it related to their values, beliefs, etc. It seems neanderthal-ish to think about it like this because I feel like whenever you see or hear a person taking any given sporting event way too seriously, you tend to think they’re some kind of backwards unintelligent person or something. Kind of like how a lot of people think Steelers fans are all primitive working class people (there’s not even anything wrong with being working class) from Western PA.

Maybe we do take football too seriously there though. I guess I’ve always heard that football in Pittsburgh is bigger than football in most places, but I haven’t lived in enough places to know for sure. This article was probably the most recent thing I read that mentioned the Pittsburgh/football connection. And the Pittsburgh Dad Steelers episode was pretty much dead on which is why it’s hilarious (although, all Pittsburgh Dad episodes would be better without the laugh track). I mean, pretty solid proof of the fact that Pittsburghers love football more than air is probably the entire pick-up sports season of 2008-2009. No matter what we started playing, we always ended up playing football… to the point that we just started playing football every week and didn’t try to pretend like we were going to play anything else. And at first, I was kinda bummed. To me, it was like “Damn yinzers and their football. Why can’t we keep playing capture the flag?” The only thing I love more than pick-up football in the mud is capture the flag. If it was a professional sport, I’d be an all-star. It should be a professional sport. One of my life goals is probably to make it a professional sport. I don’t know how watchable it is though. I guess it’s not really anything that spectators could get into. Shannon and I would find a way to make it entertaining though. We rocked that shit. By the time this happens, I’ll probably be too old to play in the NCTFL but I can be the commissioner. After a summer of being a camp counselor, I have the expertise. The only foreseeable negative about professional CTF is the fact that training would probably entirely consist of running suicides. What other kind of training do you do need? CTF requires sprinting, slowing down or stopping briefly to pick up the flag, then sprinting again. Sometimes you have to push people if you play unethically. I guess there’s also some agility and quick momentum shifts to avoid or catch people but suicides pretty much cover that too.  Maybe you’re thinking, “Psh, what’s wrong with suicides?” Are you SERIOUS? Everything about them is terrible. That’s why they’re called suicides. I will admit that they help you reach nirvana though. Like in that moment where you really think you’re going to collapse instead of being able to touch the line and start running again, you somehow pull it off then enter into an out of body experience where all life’s answers are revealed to you. It’s probably because you’re experiencing pre-death events.

Anyway, if I was commissioner, Pittsburgh would obviously have one of the first CTF teams and it’d be an easy transition for fans because I’d name them the Pittsburgh Stealers (best name for a CTF team ever, right?) even though that might cause some confusion. But everyone could wear their regular Steelers gear and just put an A over the second E at CTF games. People wear their Steelers gear to Pirates games already anyway. And Pens stuff too. It’s the only thing that makes them feel better at the end of the game when the Pirates have lost again, I guess. Although, for awhile last season, you saw less and less Steelers/Pens stuff and more Pirates shirts/jerseys because people were getting excited about baseball again. People actually started going to games too. They didn’t even have $1 hot dog night anymore and PNC Park was still selling out. That obviously didn’t last forever though. The final game I went to was the August 5th one where they lost to the Padres by like 10 runs. During the 6th inning, we made the wave go around 20-ish times (the record for a professional sports game, probably) and people were cheering for it every time it was headed to their section. Yeah, people were cheering for the wave and not the team. And then at the end, people started chanting stuff about the Steelers. And in that moment, I realized we were back to Pirates games the way they’d always been my whole life and everyone had given up again. A CTF team in Pittsburgh would give people another thing to be joyful about and would lessen the baseball pain. In Pittsburgh, maybe we’re too serious about sports in general.

I see it more as dedication/love though. If it’s critical to our social/cultural experience and relationships with people (more on that later), then it makes sense that we’re serious about it. We should be serious about it because relationships are important. Two Steelers fans e-mailed me with criticism about the Jesus and the Steelers post. And despite the criticism, it made me smile because I love that people love the Steelers. I’m shocked that anyone ever reads this stuff though. The first person pointed out that the whole Ben rape case thing is water under the bridge at this point. And I most certainly agree. Most of that post was totally ridiculous/unserious. I mean, I kind of wrote a fake Bible verse. That’s straight up heresy. The second person said that I shouldn’t hate on Sepulveda for always being hurt. And first of all, I didn’t really hate. Maybe I sounded bitter but it wasn’t real hate. I’m just bummed because he’s the most badass punter in the NFL so it sucks that he can’t play… ever. In the 5 seasons he’s been a Steeler, he’s been hurt 3 times. I guess my opinion is that we should just get a new starting punter which sucks because, as I said, he’s awesome. Remember the fake punt pass versus the Titans? Badass. And when I was looking for a something on YouTube to prove the normal Christianity thing, I found a clip that was basically him signing autographs and the guy who’s taking the video says to his kid, “It’s Sepulveda, the punter. Look at the guns on the punter,” which is hilarious (I actually laughed out loud) and it also proves that I’m not the only one who thinks that Sepulveda is the most badass punter in the NFL. And that means that the Steelers are the best team in the NFL because even our punter is a superhero. Maybe I’m just a biased Steelers fan. I don’t actually know anything about punting. I’m pretty sure all Steelers fans think they’re experts about everything. Watch that Pittsburgh Dad episode again and think about any conversation you’ve ever had at work or a bar you’ll realize that it’s the truth. We care. A lot.

But seriously, you should have seen the Alabama fans leading up to the game on Monday and then afterwards. They’re at least equal with us. Apparently, they Roll Tide, Roll during Sweet Home Alabama. I was at the bar last night when I found this out (because they were all doing it) and immediately I wanted to be an Alabama fan so I could be a part of that. And I think that was the first twinge of “sports are important” because I started to think about it’s cultural significance and unification factor. I got kinda homesick again because it’s exactly like when Sweet Caroline comes on in a Pittsburgh bar and everyone yells “Let’s Go Pitt” and “Go Pitt” and such at the appropriate times. In those moments, no matter who you are or where you’re from or why you love Pitt, you’re all in that boat together. It’s kind of a spiritual experience. Like that same feeling people get from religion.

It’s the same way at actual games. It’s better at games, actually. Because not only are you all there in that one place together, but you all feel the same things. You all feel the disbelief when your QB throws an interception and you also all feel the tension when you need a TD to win and there’s like 20 seconds left. And then the explosive joy when they get that TD and you’re hugging the stranger next to you. Football (and sports in general) just brings people together. The best moments of my life were those in the Oakland Zoo during tight games when Pitt pulled it off. There really aren’t words to adequately describe that sheer happiness or universality you feel with everyone else that’s there with you. And college basketball is my #1 favorite sport to watch so of course it always felt super epic.

It’s heartbreaking when it’s bad though. One night, after one of Pitt’s more devastating March Madness losses, crazy things happened. People got drunk. Real drunk. It was serious drinking. NO ONE remembered what happened  the next day… other than the fact that we lost, obviously. Someone (NOT ME, for the record) got pregnant. Yeah, that drunk. Sad drunk. I never want to be that kind of drunk again. Your team consistently way underperforming during the tournament is not something that you ever get used to so I’ll probably be that kind of sad drunk again at some point. I also remember when Pitt was playing Cincinnati for the Big East football championship and they blew a HUGE lead. They were up by like more than 3 touchdowns. Here I am FREEZING MY ASS OFF with everyone else (because it was the first day it snowed that year and we were underprepared) and then they go and lose like that. Thanks, Pitt football. You suck. All the time. But at least we were all cold and sad together.

Sports are one of the few lifetime constants. It doesn’t matter which sport(s) you love or what your favorite team is. A lot of times, your fandom is given to you the day you’re born and you carry it with you until you die and it’s passed down over generations and generations of people. My grandfather has Alzheimer’s pretty badly and he’s really out of it a lot of times and often agitated by the fact that he can’t remember anything or live the way he used to, but when you turn on a PSU or Steelers football game, it’s like nothing is different.

My mom and dad used to sing a lullaby version of Fight On, State to us when they rocked us to sleep. I’m pretty sure both my siblings and I took my parents’ original Terrible Towel to school for show and tell at least a few times each which irritated all the Bills fans we grew up with. I also remember taking the Jaromir Jagr peanut butter. A few summers ago, Matt took me on a romantic afternoon/evening date that started with a picnic and ended with Steelers training camp. And even though I hate him now, it was one of the best days of my life. My mom talks about how she was pregnant with me during the 1987 Fiesta Bowl when Penn State won the national championship and jokingly says that she was probably depriving me of oxygen because she kept holding her breath. Sports are linked to stories and memories and landmarks in time.

Here’s proof that this stuff is indoctrinated at birth. I was born a Penn State fan and I will die that way too. Have you hugged your Nittany Lion today?

And the other thing that made Penn State football so special and damn important as a social/cultural/life influence was the fact that it was all about integrity and that’s probably why the whole scandal thing rocked my world because the integrity thing is now partially undermined. A huge amount of my values and work ethic were influenced by JoePa (the man is/was a legend) and the Penn State football program and now it kind of feels like all of that is forever tainted.

I’m keeping some of it though. Example:

 

Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things.
– Joe Paterno

All his words that I lived by are a little bit tainted now. Things are a lot different in the aftermath. And it’s going to be weird to be a Penn State fan without JoePa as the coach but it’s still Penn State football and I will love it just as much as I always have.

I’m really optimistic about Coach O’Brien preserving the positive aspects of the JoePa legacy.

WE ARE PENN STATE.

We will forever be Penn State.

I think I’m finally out of things to say. But I’ll leave yinz with my favorite quote from the interview/article…

My thing was play as hard as you can, don’t be stupid, pay attention to details, and have enough guts in the clutch that you’re not afraid to make a play.

That’s some damn good advice for life in general and applies to basically every life scenario. Don’t be stupid. Pay attention to details. And have enough guts in the clutch that you’re not afraid to make a play.

Football isn’t exactly life… but they sure do have a lot of things in common.

And even though I’m 1,000 miles away from everyone, our teams make me feel close to them. Which is why I took the Steelers loss so badly this year, probably. At this point, as long as both the Ravens and the Pats lose, I’m happy. Also, someone fix the Pens. And Sidney Crosby 😦

Every Night I Thow You Out, Leave You Stranded On The Boulevard

First and foremost… WHAT THE HELL, STILLERS? Injuries are killer. I so badly wanted to see them crush Tim Tebow. That last TD was outrageous. Maybe he really freaking is Jesus but goodness, I hope not. All season, the whole Tebow Time thing  has been in my top 5 most hated things in this world. Sigh… next year. I hate those unsuccessful seasons where I feel what fans of other teams must feel every year and it’s terrible. We did way more with severe deficits due to injury than any other team could have. I still feel at least somewhat proud of that even if we’re not getting another Superbowl win.

Moving on… I finally have internet at my apartment so consider this to be the first of more regular posts. Maybe. The exams start on Thursday and don’t stop for weeks so we’ll see what actually happens in terms of blogging. I severely need to get my ass in study gear. Going to school in vacationland is actually way more difficult than I could have imagined. I just end up going outside instead of studying. Because a “this day is way too nice to waste it inside” kind of day in Pittsburgh is actually almost every day here. And I really don’t think I’ll ever get tired of going outside so it might become a huge problem which will require me to exert the strongest self-discipline I can muster. On Saturday, it was outrageously warm and I spent a solid amount of time on my bike. I was also uncomfortably hot while walking through the Winn Dixie parking lot from my car to the door. I cannot begin to tell you how weird it is to feel uncomfortably warm in January when you’re wearing a short-sleeved shirt and sandals.

In some ways, however, the vacationland aspect actually makes learning/school easier. Basically, the nursing building in Fairhope is a 10 minute walk from the bay. So, I  obviously go down there every day for our 12-1 break because I can’t stay away and it’s super zen and I get outrageously relaxed and so then powering through the afternoon is actually relatively easy. Today, I saw the first sailboat since I’ve been here which was INCREDIBLE and I wanted to be on it so badly. Sailboating around the bay would be a dream come true. I can’t wait ’til spring/summer when there are a million out there. Although, there’s something weirdly rewarding (in a meta way or something) about just a lone sailboat out on the bay in January. Maybe it’s rewarding in an existential way. I’ll get back to you on that after I decide which it is. Maybe it’s both.

And honestly, classes are outrageously fascinating so I’m sure that I’ll get some kind of routine down where studying and life enjoyment are perfectly balanced.

I like being busy. Things like this happen during periods like last winter when I was living at home with my parents while taking Microbio and working at the local pizza place and generally being bored as hell. I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all benefit from my preoccupation with legitimate stuff like school because ridiculous Liz is difficult to handle sometimes. The absence of legitimate pursuits in my life slowly becomes disastrous.

Although, sometimes I force legitimacy to happen during these periods and so not everything’s always a waste. For example, during that same time period last winter, I also crafted the most perfect Ryan Adams roadtrip mix for shorter journeys (like the 1 – 1.5 hour range). I can’t remember the exact length or song list but I’ll pull it up on my iPod and post it sometime soon so you can recreate it and thereby satisfy the Ryan Adams craving that I know you all have right now.

This song is on it somewhere and I’m mentioning it because today was a Hallelujah loop kind of a day and I listened to it on repeat. I love that “throw you out” line. It makes me happy (maybe sadistically) every damn time.

Finally, tonight is the LSU/Alabama championship game which will be my first SEC football experience while actually physically residing in the south and it’s a totally different experience, I promise. People are flipping out. I’m watching it with Auburn fans… and Alabama always beats Penn State… so…

Geaux Tigers!

I Just Want You Near Me Like You Are Now For Good

That’s a sweet sentiment. I love love love Tinfoil Hats.

It makes me hopeful about life. It makes me not want to settle. I can’t settle again. It’s better to be alone than settle for something that’s not everything you want.

Relatedly, my need to get out of this city and/or maybe all cities is overwhelming. I really think it has to do partially with the fact that I could go to the middle of Wyoming where no one lives and actually scream my face off for 10 minutes and no one would know. But also, more to do with the fact that after shutting down crucial parts of myself to be in a relationship with Matt, the repressed interests and thoughts and feelings are now coming out so uncontrollably fast and hard that I don’t know how to keep it in check.

We seriously argued about the stupidest stuff that really was just a reflection of us being totally different people with completely different interests and backgrounds.  In order to prevent the arguing, I had to ignore crucial parts of myself and not act certain ways and modify my interests. Because of this, I know exactly what I do and do not want in a guy. So I can really only be happy at this point. I feel like I dodged some kind of bullet. Like maybe I got out just in time before that point where I would get too far in. Like I was dangerously close to the event horizon of a black hole and almost never came out again.

And now I’m kind of living like someone who almost died. I know that sounds super dramatic but that’s how I feel sometimes. It was nearly the death of myself. And that’s maybe almost scarier than dying for real. When you die for real, you just cease to exist. When your true self dies, you have to live as someone else for the rest of your days and time drags on and you’re never really happy/fulfilled.

I’m 50% country and 50% city. It’s a dead even split. I grew up in the country so I need the wilderness down to the very core of my being. I kind of freak out in the city. I don’t know what to do with myself and get easily upset by certain things. Like smelling truck fumes when I’m running and not being able to see the stars when I want to. But then again, I know how much it sucks to live in a small town and what it’s like to want to experience new things and meet new people. So when I’m back in that small town for an extended period of time, I freak out then too. Essentially, I’m always only half content. 50% bliss, 50% freaking out. It’s really a miserable existence sometimes. Pittsburgh is actually ok. It’s city enough that you can spontaneously do almost anything and I could go to 7 shows a week if I wanted to but it’s also surrounded by three epic rivers and it was kind of built in the middle of the woods so it still kind of feels like that’s where you are. Western PA woods are the best kind also. Plus it’s neighborhoody so kinda has a small town feel sometimes. And after being here for 6 years, it’s really weird to realize how many people I know or know of. Desi and I went out on a date with the same guy and didn’t even realize it until after it happened. My bank teller realized that he lives in my old apartment. Shit like that. Everyone knows everyone.

Anyway, for the last billion weekends before this one, I left for some kind of country adventure whether it was visiting my extended family or driving to State College and back. And during those weeks I felt stable and balanced for the most part. So obviously the 50/50 thing is necessary. That’s why I think I’ll love Salt Lake City if I end up there. I feel like there are a million adventurers in Utah. Chill people who just like to hike and ski and kayak. Mary seems to think that’s where my soulmate is. More specifically, he’s probably at the Patagonia outlet (which, by the way, is absolutely amazing she says). Our eyes will meet in the ski pants aisle and that will be the start of happily forever.

Man wish list:
– At least 6’0″
– Outdoorsy in every way. Like would go camping and/or to the lake every weekend if he could.
– Kinda scruffy but in a well-maintained sense. Flannel shirts all the way. I’ve weirdly only been attracted to guys with facial hair lately.
– Absolutely honest/open about everything and truly believes that’s the only way to live. You can’t force someone to have this value or learn to be that way. They either can or they can’t. They do or they don’t. Don’t waste your time thinking they’ll change and/or come around and/or warm up to the idea.
– Brown eyes. They make me melt. Green and hazel are tolerable. Blue eyes are gross.
– Liberal political tendencies
– Humble, altruistic, loves people/the environment/the world/life
– Good at engineering and/or good at making/fixing stuff
–  Coaches little kids soccer
– Drives a Jeep. We need something to tow the boat with. Also, I’ve been Jeep brainwashed. My parents have always had one for as long as I can remember. And the best days of my life were spent on roadtrips in Tim’s Wrangler. Speaking of roadtrips…
– Must love roadtrips (and be good at them… stops infrequently, sings along with the Ryan Adams, knows how to pack a car, etc.) and also love good roadtrip music. Speaking of music…
– Must love alt-country and punk and everything from the 90s and just music in general. If you don’t go to a lot of shows, I can’t be with you. Because that’s all I want to do.
– Has siblings and is best friends with them. At least one of them has to be a sister. Guys without sisters are emotionally inept.
– Dog person. No cats. Ever.
– Likes good beer and whiskey. Also not a lightweight. I can drink a lot. You better be able to keep up.
– Wants to have 4 kids and is open to a few or all of them being adopted
– Has broad shoulders and tan man arms/hands/wrists
–  Can put up with the fact that I’m motivated and fiercely independent and hard to deal with sometimes especially at the beginning when I have walls. Once I trust you enough not to destroy my heart, I’m the most affectionate/low-maintenance girlfriend ever, I swear
– Can put up with the fact that I love to laugh and be unserious/ridiculous and also that I still have a huge imagination
– Knows that I have the potential to do amazing things for the world with my huge capacity to love and encourages/supports/pushes me the whole way to get things done. The greatest loves are those that make you an even more exceptional person than you ever thought you could be.
– Wants to have as many random experiences and see as many places as possible before we die together when we’re 95
– Knows that life is about way more than just making money and that it’s better to find a career that fits the life you want instead of making your life fit around your career
– Sees right through my shit and makes me accountable for it
– Does not have rich parents. I could write a book on why. But for now, just take my word for it.
– Remembers my birthday every year. I don’t even need a party or a present or a nice dinner or anything. You just have to say Happy Birthday and acknowledge that I’m one year older and happy about it. I don’t care about the whole anniversary thing or any other date that might be important. You just have to care that I’ve successfully lived another year and be happy that I’m around.
– Wants to settle down in Pittsburgh when we’re ready for that type of thing. My kids need to be close to my family and the farm. I want them to be able to have the experience of partially growing up there.
– Believes in lazy Sundays. Reading, cooking, chilling on the porch swing, watching football, napping in the hammock, etc.

I have yet to meet a guy that’s all those things. I don’t think I’ve met a guy that even comes close. Maybe I’m asking for too much. Like the soccer coaching is probably a stretch. And I could just buy a Jeep for myself. But… in general, that’s what I’m looking for. And Matt was so far off of that. And honestly, those things haven’t really changed from when I was 17 so I don’t know what I was doing. We had weirdly amazing chemistry that I got caught up in then it turned into love so even though we had seriously fundamental differences, it lasted a long time. And now I’ve learned a ridiculously critical lesson which I am grateful for and it’s only going to get better from here.

I can’t wait to find the guy that’s all those things or close to all those things. I want to listen to Tinfoil Hats and look this hypothetical person and know that we’re happy in every way on ever level.

Kid, I’m gonna be with you longer than the world can stand
‘Cause there’s a light that’s stronger
Shining out of your eyes
I see it

And even if I never find this ideal man I’m so so happy just being single that it’s totally ok. If I only ever have a dog and a boat, I’ll consider my life successful/happy/fulfilled. As I said, it’s better to be alone than settle for something that doesn’t make you happy in every way. The point of existence is to live happily and it’s very possible to be more unhappy than happy when you’re with the wrong person.

I’m exploding with life and love and hope. Yeah, there’s underlying anger there. But it actually is going away. I’m not a dweller. It’s time to put my brave face on and just expect that he’s going to continue to be a dick and make me upset and so I’m going to find a way to move past it and live my life and not let it bother me.

The miles and miles of hostility running definitely helps too.

The Purity Of The Road

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!
– Albert Einstein

Or in this case, the beautiful land of central Pennsylvania.

Penn State football is always a family affair. It’s nice to know that reliably, no matter what game you go to, there will be an assortment of relatives there.

The most perfect thing you can experience is life when you’re sitting in a fold-up chair outside Beaver Stadium on a gorgeous sunny warm October day with a Yuengling in one hand and a slice of your mom’s famous tailgating sandwich in the other, surrounded by your immediate family along with cousins, aunts, and uncles.

I cannot emphasize this enough: a simple life is the best life.

Money and power are so overrated. All I want for the rest of my existence is to be able to drive over Pennsylvania mountains and end up at Beaver Stadium to watch Penn State win a football game.

If we were Catholic and if JoePa was mortal, he would probably be adopted as our family’s new patron saint once he died.

Usually I only get to go to one game per year. Two if I’m outrageously lucky. This year, however, I got to go to three. And now I’m hooked. As with all addictions, the more you do it, the more you need it.

As I’ve probably said before, the drive from Pittsburgh to State College is both spectacular and soothing. I get all happy and dreamy.

If this was Imaginationland where everything was possible, I’d have financial backers who would pay me to travel across the USA and write a New York Times bestseller called “The Definitive Guide to Alt-Country and the Road.” I would go to amazing shows, interact with the very essence of America, and also impart my roadtrip wisdom to eager young wanderers.

For example, how to make a 2.5 hour trip when you’re so hungover you want to die.
1) Portable carby/greasy breakfast in little bites over a long period of time
2) Ginger ale
3) Windows down for fresh air
4) Big sunglasses to block the light
5) Coffee for stamina (because passing out does not have the same restorative benefits as sleep) when you’re finally starting to feel recovered
6) Subtle but good music like Ghost

I always say I’m not going to go out the night before a game because it’s critically important that I’m in tip-top shape to get the most enjoyment out of it. That never happens. Saturday morning was rough. But I left at 10 and was back to 100% by 1 when I finally got to the tailgate spot. The walk down College Ave was magically medicinal. Nothing better than being surrounded by a zillion people who love the same thing you do. And the first Yuengling I had upon arrival was magic. Sweet, delicious Yuengling.

Anyway, because I’ve been outrageously productive lately (being single actually is awesome), I think I’m going to start an alt-country blog. Being that I just now realized that basically half of everything (musically speaking) I love falls into the alt-country genre, it’s going to be a little rocky at first. More of a beta project. Very exploratory. I mean, I’ve loved these bands/artists forever, but I’m a novice in terms of how far-reaching the genre really is and what it has to offer. I don’t even know how it started or why it started or who was the first person to coin the term.

Maybe someday I can actually be enough of an expert to write the definitive guide. Gotta win the lotto first. The gas money has to come from somewhere.

Mary went to Park City this weekend. I want to go to Park City someday too.

Steelers won. Thank God.