Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

The past three weeks I’ve been banished to the basement of the building where I work to sort paper. Thousands and thousands of pages of paper. We are being audited by Apple Inc. (because I work at an Authorized Service Center). It’s understandable, but the paper sorting is kind of hell.

But thanks to the magic of iTunes, and free programming that is Podcasts, I’ve turned what was mind-numbing hell into rather educational and entertaining time. 

One thing I did was sign up for a free account at audible.com and redeemed my one free audiobook for a season of This American Life, which gave me 26 hours of storytelling. I love that. But here are my other favorites, in no particular order:

  • Creative Screenwriting Magazine – This podcast was actually very helpful, and not filled with softball questions or pointless information. So far I’ve only listened to the interview with Danny Boyle regarding Slumdog Millionaire but I have also downloaded the interview with Charlie Kaufman for Synechedoche, New York
  • The Moth Podcast – A live storytelling podcast that pulls from regular live events in New York and LA. Nearly every story will make you laugh and quite a few are pretty touching. The storytellers range from former Brooklyn cops to Published authors. 
  • Folkways – A public broadcast TV show rereleased online as a Video Podcast, this show focuses on folk music and folk traditions. Each half-hour episode hones in on a topic. I watched the episode on the banjo yesterday, and learned about the history of the banjo, the different playing styles, and the major players of each style. It was very well put together for a public access show. 
  • APM: Word for Word – This podcast features “the best of recent speeches” and I was excited to find it because the speakers are good, and the topics are quite interesting. I listened to Paul Roberts speaking on the state of the world food supply yesterday (he’s the author of The End of Food) and another gentleman give a history of the CIA titled “A Legacy of Ashes.”
  • Stuff You Should Know – How Stuff Works.com brings this podcast every week, and they do a good job of packing factual information into a radio morning show format. Two hosts bounce back and forth to explain topics that range from “How Important is Sleep?” to “How does the Bailout Work?” I would start with the latter and also “How do mortgage-backed securities work” if you are interested in understanding our current economic troubles more. 
  • New Yorker: Fiction – Fan of short stories? This podcast is excellent for you. Every month the New Yorker invites a fiction author to choose a short story from the magazine’s archives to read aloud. Then the fiction editor and author will discuss the story. I don’t usually care much for the discussion, but it’s a great way to hear some classic short stories read aloud. Available so far, Tobias Wolffe’s Bullet in the Brain, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, and many more. 

That’s all for now. I can’t remember if I’ve found any others of note, and right now my iPod is playing the new Kanye while my wife gets ready (my choice of music, not hers). If I find other good ones, I’ll be sure to post them here!


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Just seven days ago I rearranged my room. I returned from the Road Trip to a bedroom missing a piece of furniture – my long had desk which I gifted to my sister. I took her car to california, she took my desk to her apartment.

Let’s pretend it was fair, shall we?

So i had crap (the metaphorical kind) exploded upon my room, and I had to organize it. I love a good organizing challenge. My dorm room last year was fantastic. Something like 12″ x 6″ and I’m supposed to live there comfortably? Oh but I did, and sometimes it even felt homey.

So I rearranged my room, in a very minimalistic fashion, disregarding my almost-but-not-quite-a-bed I had received from my Grandparents when they moved, and keeping the rest. In the end, my bed lay to one side of the room, my small desk lay to the other side, and my recliner was smack in the middle of my bay window. It was quite good.

But tonight I demolished all of that, deconstructing the placement of all these things step by step, re-placing them into carefully packed boxes. It is a fantastic adventure, deciding what in your life is worth taking and what is worth leaving when all of it is needed to create a true feeling of comfort.

My DVD’s are winning out this year again, with the addition of my CD’s, which stayed at home last year. Gone is my oversized CRT monitor, new is a crate-box filing thing that will store all my important reciepts, tax records, and journals. If you break into my dorm room, steal the cd’s and not the crate please. Please too leave the Sufjan Steven’s CD’s, and maybe the Arcade Fire, and definitely my collection of Ben Folds. The rest you can take, unless you are feeling overwhelmingly generous, in which case leave the Jets to Brazil, and Derek Halet. On second thought, take Derek Halet, I’ll replace his CD and you need to hear it.

But please, really, just don’t steal anything from me.

These boxes will soon be packed into my car, where they will remain for a few days while I go visit Paul, the one good friend I haven’t seen this summer.

Then, seven days from now (HA! the title makes sense) I will leave his house and head back down to Dayton, TN, to start the school year.

Actually this was supposed to be about my love of packing, but it dovetailed a bit. Here though:

I love packing! Oh packing packing, how you comple…

I felt like being cheesy, sorry. Packing is a joy in my life though, I enjoy the pre-processing of “I have to fit all of this, into this” part. I work it all out in my head, playing with configurations and so on, until I have a feasible one. Then I attempt it. More often than not, everything falls into place.

And as Hannibal from the A-Team always said, I love it when a plan comes together.

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A friend recently asked me to help her overcome her writers block by me writing. It didn’t make sense, but I obliged because it was a good exercise. She merely wanted a paragraph about a shipwreck, and something else which I forgot. So this was my paragraph:

On the fortieth day, the shipwrecked crew cemented their diplomacy agreement and began anew on setting up a goverment. The parties were fairly evenly split, around 19 to 17, but each had a member of the other that had been taken during their flirtations with party-based anarchy. There wasn’t much humiliation that could be felt by these poor souls, but upon the realization that each had a comrade of the other side, those poor captive comrades became the butt of all possible jokes. On the 300th day, this turned against them, because the formerly captive comrade, now a member of the military class and serving under the governing class in the 3 class democracy system ratified by both parties, had the position of co-lookout. The Senior Lookout spotted a plane, but his co-lookout, still quite humiliated from 237 days before when his jailers found it hilarious to constantly yell “We’re saved! there’s a plane over there!” which he fell for 28 times that day, but never again. Only, that 300th day there really was a plane, but since he didn’t believe the Senior Lookout, the Alert Verification Protocol was unmet, and an alarm was not sounded.

It was a ramble, that’s why there are a couple continuity grammar mistakes, but the concept was humorous to me.

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For the longest time there was an odd fact about me that I could admit to easily enough, but kind of made conversations awkward. I had never been kissed until I was 20 – last year. That also meant I had never kissed, because those two sometimes go hand in hand but sometimes not so I wanted to confirm.

Nearly a year since my first kiss (the term feels like it should have two trumpets do the “du dudu DUUUU” sound…) I admit I have mixed feelings about having waited so long. Part of me says “it’s just a kiss, what the hell were you afraid of?” while part of me is echoing that statement minus the “just” and with a lot of italicized emphasis on the “a kiss” part. It reads more like this: “it’s A KISS! I know what the hell you were afraid of.”

(Don’t get me wrong now, this post is not about regretting my first kiss or the fact that I waited so long – the past is the past and honestly I had an amazing first kiss, movie-esque quality. So don’t read this thinking that.)

Yes I was afraid and it delayed me for awhile, until I reworked that fear into a type of courage wherein I knew that girls who knew that about me would know I was safe, and it was a small key that helped me make a couple friendships stronger. Not manipulation mind you, but trust building. I think.

The reworking part was pretty smart too, kind of like in the new movie Talladega Nights, when Ricky Bobby conquers his fear of a cougar enough that it becomes his pet. The cougar that is, not the fear.

Last night I had a wonderful conversation about this though, when a friend who honestly I had not expected to call me. Sure we’d said we would talk, but I just figured I didn’t rank well in her list of people she likes – but hey it’s nice to be wrong sometimes. Our conversation drifted all over the place but was mostly deep and real like friend-birthing conversations should be. One such drifting subject was that of relationships and what its will be like next time either of us ventures into one, having both recently come out of them.

We were agreeing that each time you move past a step, starting with holding hands then moving forward, the loss of that in your life causes it to become a craving. It’s sadly just a fact of life. That makes it quite tempting to go right back to that level with the next person you’re in a relationship with. Where as with the first person you ever kissed, it might have taken awhile to work up to that point, with the next person it might be happen right out of the gate. This can be on every level all the way up to sex.

Part of it comes from the fact that it is natural for us to want these things in our life, part of it comes from the fact that all too often we’re trying to replace that past relationship and the memories connected with it.

Last night though, we also agreed that by taking that route, we completely miss out. By rushing to get back to where we were, we lose many of the joys of taking things slowly. Holding hands becomes a given, snuggling loses its place to making out, sex becomes more of a commitment than intimacy. It’s really quite a dumb mindset.

I’m addicted to a new band I just found recently – The Format a small indie-pop band from Arizona with a FANTASTIC sophomore album out. But along with their catchy upbeat indiepop tunes, they have lyrics that are a little beyond what passes as pop music today. Take the chorus of this song, which I brought up last night during our conversation:

Snails see the benefits
The beauty in every inch
Oh why, why, why, why, why
Are you quick to kiss?

The writer describes the song as being about his missing dog, and promiscuous sex. I can’t speak much too the missing dog part, but as far as the promiscuous sex/ going to fast thing, I think he’s right on target.

We are not helping ourselves any with this mindset, in fact we are missing out on so much, and building relationships that are stupid from the get go. Instead of taking it slow and admiring the beauty – of life, of the person we’re pursuing, of just being – we jump to the parts we miss so we can fill a need in our lives.

My thoughts lead me to believe we’re simply jumping to the easy to get “needs” and missing out on the much deeper, much more long lasting, and much more needed aspects of intimacy, friendship, trust, and in the end – love.

It’s a mistake I have made, and a mistake I have seen far too many friends make, and a mistake I wish were as easy to eradicate as writing a thoughtful blog post.

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Things to Add

I like the fact that this blog is an inconvenience for friends. They have to intentionally desire to read what I write in order to make it here. It makes me more honest, it allows me that much more freedom.

I just returned from the road trip. I would hope that it is not the last great road trip I take, but for the time being, it is the road trip.

nine days, forty-nine hundred miles, six or seven states… it was pretty intense. drew and I left last saturday at 6am, arrived in san diego sunday night at 11. the next 5 days were the best this year so far, and there is no contest.

until the day i die, i will laugh at how true the verse is that says (paraphrased) man makes plans but God decides the future. as a dreamer I am prone to pre-live events that are soon to happen – so I can better be prepared. kyla got to hear my thoughts regarding the trip to san diego, and encouraged me to repeat them to their intended audience. but the time arrived and the thoughts formed no words. it was better that way.

i had intentions, hopes… maybe just fantasies as i prepared to drive out. reality tends not to impede on desires when they are still in infancy, and so it was with mine. i knew how the words would sound, how my audience would react, how the moment would be tender and sweet.
the moment never came, and neither did the words. there were moments in the week that were tender and sweet, but of a different sort. honestly i thank God that those words never rolled off my tongue, one, because it’s much too soon for me (even now, i am scared), and two, because it would have introduced an awkwardness to the trip that was entirely unnecessary.

as the trip ends i realize now that i didn’t miss out. nothing that had any chance of lasting started, and everything that might always be, was furthered. and my heart was refreshed and soothed in the tiny things, like the way she hugged me “without worrying about letting go,” or by her encouragements regarding my passions, or the fact that she liked sitting by me in the car as much as i enjoyed having her there. those things that could have been missed, now stand out so clearly.

so i’m home, and she’s a friend that i will greatly treasure. and what she has yet to find out (although i’ll tell her) is that she is one of two in my life who are the standard. i saw in her eyes and smile and passions and words and desires so many things that ring familiar – the right mix of familiarity and mystery – an enticing mix that means should we have more opportunities “to become,” we would find things to talk about for days. and i’ve always treasured honest conversation much more than things that seem so easy. to find someones lips with your own is a simple journey, to find someones heart is a never-ending adventure.

I do not know when the search will begin again. even in my head now, with the crushes i entertain at times, i am laughably fearful of what might happen. upon the arrival of that time, or upon a crush that doesn’t scare me though, i have it clear in my head what she’ll be up against. it’s not an easy standard to match because i do not have the kind of friends that are easy to find.

i have the priceless friends, the type worth driving 3 or 5 or 7 (i’m not really sure, i didn’t count) hours out of the way to see for 2 hours, and the type worth driving 30 hours just to spend face to face quality time with. There’s even more to add, but not now.

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