Category Archives: ryan adams

The Longer I Run Then The Less That I Find

Pandora is sabotaging my all-nighter with sad songs.

And not just bittersweet sad or like melancholy sad. We’re talking epically sad. And why are so many of them about leaving and/or home?

That’s a folky/alt-country theme, for sure. But damn. It’s almost EVERY song tonight.

I switched from my Whiskey Farm station to The Lumineers. Bad decision. Things turned tragic for no foreseeable reason.

Highlights:

There was this… which is probably on my “top 20 saddest songs of all time” list.

I’m coming up only to hold you under
I’m coming up only to show you wrong

Then, this… which is on my “top 10 songs that make me sad in 2012” list.

Well, this road I’m on’s gonna turn to sand
And leave me lost in a far off land
So let me ride the wind ’til I don’t look back
Forget the life that I almost had

Ugh. I’m switching to Gold. At least I know what to expect.

Advertisements

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.

I Truly, Honestly, Sincerely Love Life With Every Ounce Of Loving Capacity I Have

It’s weird and difficult sometimes but the beautiful moments/days make the unpleasant stuff so insignificant.

I saw Matt last night for the first time in 2 months. And I realized I feel absolutely nothing toward him. I knew I didn’t love him anymore but I thought I might show up and feel hate because that’s what I’ve been feeling since we broke up and he started being super immature about the aftermath. But honestly, I got there and had no ill feelings. I’m not sure if he was upset that I was there but it seemed pretty normal. Awkward but normal. I think things are going to be ok.

I still can’t go to sports when he’s there and I totally respect that the mutual friends don’t think it’s a good idea. But thankfully, tonight he can’t make it so I get to go and everything is feeling close to normal again.

Ed was randomly back in town so I saw him last night at Bootleggers. Whenever someone comes home and/or when almost everyone is there, it feels nearly exactly like how life used to be. Before Matt and I broke up and even before everyone moved away. 2008-2010 will forever be some of the best years of my life. I’m not sad that time changed things because I’m definitely looking forward to all the upcoming years of my life but it is kind of upsetting when I think about how much I loved that phase. Life was really nearly perfect back then.

I also love love love having random days off in the middle of the week. I get so much done. Today was a gorgeous day. October might be my second favorite month behind July. No, actually nothing can beat summer so June and August take 2 and 3. But October is definitely 4th.

And even though I anxiously/compulsively check the mail every day hoping to see a letter from Alabama, I think I’m becoming more and more ok with moving to Utah. With such an awesome plan B, it almost doesn’t matter anymore. I mean, I’m probably going to cry my face off if I don’t get in and may feel less happy about plan B if that reality happens. But for now, I’m just kind of in one of those “whatever happens, happens” states. Especially when Mary sends me e-mails that end like this:

…and we can dance around the apartment relishing in our freedom from the East and all the glory that belongs to the West.

She missed her calling as a poet/novelist. You can blame Wendell Berry. She never used to be like this. Apparently A Timbered Choir: Sabbath Poems is the greatest thing ever. She quoted the intro in one of her recent e-mails as well.

These poems were written in silence, in solitude, mainly out of doors. A reader will like them best, I think, who reads them in similar circumstances–or at least in a quiet room. They would be most favorably heard if read aloud into a kind of quietness that is not afforded by any public place. I hope that some readers will read them as they were written: slowly, and with more patience than effort.

Holy FUCK, that’s incredible. Definitely next on the list. The number of books on my “to read” agenda is an exponential curve. It can never be conquered. I have yet to come to terms with the fact that there just aren’t enough life hours to read everything I want. The thought makes me too sad. Even if I only read, slept, and ate, there still wouldn’t be enough time. Curses, time!

Another thing that’s incredible: Ashes & Fire. I used to be kind of sad that Ryan Adams doesn’t make music like he used to. It’s more mature now and I like wild things because I’m wild. But honestly, Ashes & Fire won me over in every day. I cannot stop listening to it.

However, today’s album was White Blood Cells. Before I left the house, I found this random plain white CD in my trunk of stray things and I thought it was Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and I immediately decided it was perfect for today so I got excited and popped it in as soon as I got out of the car. Then I was pleasantly surprised to hear The White Stripes. Best surprise ever. Granted, both albums would have been great to listen to today but it had been so long since I listened to a White Stripes album in it’s entirety that I’m actually really really happy this turned out the way it did. I’d forgotten how goddamn incredible it is. And this is weird because I was totally listening to Hotel Yorba on repeat a few days ago. Proof: this post.

The alt-country blog is a lot more difficult than I thought. It’s hard to have a blog that’s so specific and focused. Good learning experience though. I’m hoping to finish up another post today or tomorrow at the latest. I’m just concerned that nothing I write will be good enough or anything that I’m actually proud of. Like this blog doesn’t matter because it’s just haphazard blithering. But I want that one to be a legitimate project. We’ll see what happens. I think I just need to sit down and write and not care and be happy with the results. Being a perfectionist sucks every day. I’m crazy successful at life because of it. But it sucks. Double-edged sword.

It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope that’s true. Because alt-country is definitely my #1 thing right now. Ralph Waldo Emerson will never steer you wrong, I swear. Everyone is always like “Thoreau is so much better.” Disagree. I mean, honestly, they’re both great so I don’t know why you have to take a side. It’s like the pop/soda thing or the ranch/bleu cheese thing or the Sheetz/Wawa thing or any of that. Why make it an issue when they’re all wonderful and you can say/eat/like both? For the record, I’m a soda/bleu cheese/Sheetz person haha.

Also relevant:

Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.
– Ray Bradbury

These things motivate me to keep truckin’ on.

Anyway, to finish up here, I’m getting back into running. I need it. It gets a lot of aggression and pent up energy/negativity out of me. I bought the MOST AMAZING running shoes today because my old ones were shot. Nike Air Pegasus +28. Mine are prettier than that though. Anyway, I consulted Marco after I purchased them because he’s an expert. Running is his passion and he also works at a running store and happens to also be an expert in helping people find the shoes/gear that’s most suited to them. This was his opinion of them:

As you may have inferred by the 28, that shoe has been around for a long time (28 years). So pretty reliable/popular. Definitely in the top 3 shoes we sell at Fleet Feet. Just hope you aren’t an overpronator!

I love my friends. I love people with passions/obsessions. It means they have something to live for and love. That’s critically important.

Mary is living her passion too.

I’m sooooo drawn into community and natural resources/environment sociology. It makes my heart beat in a way different than any other sociology I’ve ever studied. I think I’m finding my calling in life.

Everyone go be like her. And Marco. And everyone else who’s living out their passions.

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.
– Ferdinand Foch

Go hard or go home. I’m floating amidst several intense passions so that makes things slightly more complicated. I want to do everything all at once.

But back to the shoes. They seriously make you feel like you’re flying. Hence the whole “Air Pegasus” thing, I guess. I can’t believe I’ve gone 24 years without discovering them. It’s the dawning of a new era in my relationship with running. So long, animosity in my soul! Miles of running totally knock it out of me. That feeling where you think you absolutely can’t keep going but do anyway is the point where you’re most free. That applies to all difficult things, not just running.

And so, this is to you baby sister… Please keep in mind that while grad school sucks, you’re actually weirdly living at the height of experience right now. Appreciate that. Because from that difficulty will come the greatest success you’ve ever experienced. It will be the type of triumph that will define and give incredible meaning to your life.

Pipe Dreams

Well, it’s up. Kind of.

My QLC manifests itself in weirder and weirder ways as time goes on.

Shakedown on 9th Street

That title is so temporary. With something is as critical as the name, you can’t rush it. Someday, it’ll just hit me. Until then, I had to call it something.

We’ll see what happens this my new baby beta project. Someone collaborate with me. I would love for this to be a partnership. Or even a group endeavor.

The Village of Distant

Pennsylvania has weird town names. On Saturday, I drove through the villages of Spaces Corners, PA (that’s some meta shit) and Distant, PA. Really, I’m not making this up. They’re on 28. Somewhere after the expressway ends but before you get to Brookville.

When I got to Distant, there was this sign that said “Village of Distant” and I was listening to this song and I had one of those weird unexplainable moments where everything feels so surreal. Like you’re not even yourself or alive or something. Like you’re suspended in time. But it’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing? It’s a weird thing.

Well, I am a troubled boy
From the hills that you know
Oh, and don’t tell me
Don’t tell me where to go

Well, I am a lonesome girl
From the hearth that you found
Oh, and don’t ask me
Don’t ask me how I know

Well, I am a mountain man
From the hard, jagged land
Oh, and don’t tell me
Don’t tell me to let go

Well, I am an honest man
From the planes golden land
Oh, and don’t tell me
Don’t tell me what to repent
What to sow

Favorite song right now. Hands down. When it gets to the part at 2:22, I feel only sunshine inside.

I think the village of Distant needs to be my home. I pretty much live there internally and emotionally. It’s perfect. I’m distant. I live in that state. I need to live in the physically village. It consists of like 10 houses. And it’s obviously in the middle of nowhere. I’m freaking out. I need that. I need the peace. Sing it, Conor.

The city’s driving me out of my mind

There’s also a village named Panic between Reynoldsville and Punxsy. I think I need to have a house there too. Panic and Distant. Two houses for my two conditions.

Doomed to be a vagabond without a true sense of home. I feel like I’m always looking for it. It’s weird because I feel at home in many places. Alfred is my home. Pittsburgh is my home. Punxsutawney is even kind of my home. What the fuck is home? For some reason, I can’t wrap my head around it right now.

I hate the idea of settling but at the same time I long for a place to do it? More Bright Eyes. Maybe I need to go everywhere not because I’m a transient non-settler but because I actually believe in home and settling more than anything so I’m desperately searching for exactly the right place?

And the truth is I’ve been dreaming of some tired tranquil place
Where the weather won’t get trapped inside my bones
And if all these years of searching, I find one sympathetic face
Then it’s there I’ll plant these seeds and make my home

Anyway, I was in Reynoldsville for a family thing which was the reason for the roadtrip up 28 to begin with. I briefly stopped in DuBois because I had to pick something up and for some reason I felt weird/good to be back in the place I was born. Like it’s that one place is where you start your whole freakin life. It all originates at that one place at that one time in that one city. I’ve never been weird about being in DuBois before. I guess I haven’t actually been there in awhile. Also, the CRAZY quarter-life crisis probably has something to do with it. And the Distant, PA thing. And too much time alone in the car. And The Ballad of Scarlet Town. And Jayber Crow. Which I still haven’t finished.

I don’t know if you can call this a quarter-life crisis anymore. I think I’m having a different crisis. A general time crisis. A serious time crisis. I’m not even stressed about time though. I just ceaselessly think about the relationship between past, present, and future and transience/permanence. I think if I tried to read Faulkner’s stuff again, I would love it. My brain is bananas right now.

Regardless of all of that, it’s amazing to be with your extended family watching the PSU game and eating good food and catching up on an ugly/gloomy Saturday afternoon.

Another thing I love about 28… the old Allegheny River towns. My love for them is related to the time crisis as well, for obvious reasons. They’re stuck. The world moved on. They were founded around now outdated economies. Although, there are some decent redevelopment efforts going on.

And the Allegheny River in general is awesome. I seriously just want to pull a Huck Finn and get on a raft and float down it. I would start at the trickling origin in Potter County (it’s like an hour from Alfred). Well, the raft wouldn’t be small enough for that. I guess I could like walk in it then wade it in then kayak in it then raft in it. Anyway, I’d obviously keep going once I got to the Ohio then the Mississippi then the Gulf of Mexico. I’m obsessed with bodies of water. They’re so powerful. You feel insignificant and that’s humbling and spiritually purifying. Rebirth.

SO TANGENTY. What is wrong with me. 28 is also super fun to drive on. So windy. So many ups and downs. And it’s in the middle of the woods. I fall in love with roads too.

Every time I get on I-80, I’m tempted to go west and just keep going and going until I get to the coast. I love it for the possibilities it presents. You can go all the way to San Francisco. And basically see the highlights of America on your way there. Thank God Desi and I are going to visit Josie in Ann Arbor in November. I need a roadtrip to a new place like none other.

Moving on to other stuff… I care too much about Steelers football. I’ve been irrationally irritated by their poor performances as of late. Particularly with the offensive line. GET IT TOGETHER, GUYS.

I also feel like Guster might take 3rd place in the “best back to back song combo” competition. One Man Wrecking Machine followed by The Captain is incredible. Ganging Up on the Sun is a good default Sunday night album. I love Guster. Truly.

More things. Mary is living the life right now and I’m jealous. This was the beginning of her weekend.

Friday night:
– play croquet at a department social
– get wasted with the anthropology kids
– make out with strangers
– climb a wall (and not remember doing it)

Saturday:
– run a 5K at 9AM
– move furniture into her new apartment
–  go on 4.5 hour roadtrip to Wyoming and then drive back  to Logan again before the end of the day

I never would have thought that out of the three of us, it would be Mary living the most crazy/busy/fulfilling life. Usually, Binks and I can’t be beaten in that department.

Now she and I are absolutely the same person. Work hard. Play harder. That’s the family way. I’m also entirely jealous of her experiences out west. I want to be able to just go on a roadtrip to Jackson, Wyoming like it’s no big deal. She also listened to bluegrass the whole time. That’s my girl. Every time we talk and she tells me about all her new favorite things and experiences, I’m seriously like “WHO ARE YOU?” because she’s changing so much so fast. It’s amazing. It makes me anxious/ready to move. Newness every day! I ache for it.

Her new favorite band is the SteelDrivers. I haven’t listened enough to have an opinion but here’s her review:

The violin player is crazy amazing… and all their music is very interesting. Lyrics are great but musically they go along a predictable pattern then throw something in to mix it up and bring it to a new direction. I’m so thoroughly impressed.

Also, she’s apparently listened to enough bluegrass to understand the one very important thing about it.

When bluegrass is bad, it’s the worst thing in the world, but when it’s good it’s so resoundingly perfect and beautiful.

That is the TRUTH. She phrased it flawlessly.

More music odds and ends…
– New Ryan Adams album on Tuesday! The single is pretty solid.
– I’ve been listening to the new Blink-182 album for 6 days now and I’m still disappointed. It sounds like Angels and Airwaves with Boxcar Racer incohesively thrown in there sometimes. It’s not Blink. It’s like the side projects meshed together. After Up All Night, I guess I should have known that the whole album would be like that. Oh, well. Maybe it will grow on me. They will forever be my favorite band, regardless. Tim and I took that vow so for better or for worse, Blink-182 is my #1. I kinda feel like cheating on them with the Avett Brothers. But a promise like that is something you don’t mess around with.