I nurture melancholy. I've known this for some time, but I only think about it on nights like this, when I have no reason to be unhappy but am anyway. I sit at my desk and put on sad songs and stew in it. "I like it lonely, I like it strange," Bonnie Raitt once sang. Those lines could be about me. Truth be told, I haven't been this chronically unhappy in years. I keep myself occupied during the day with school and friends, but once night falls and I find myself alone the feeling creeps in, sometimes slowly, but sometimes immediately and with full force, as it has tonight.
I mentioned I have no reason to be unhappy. I feel this warrants some explanation. School is even better this term than last. We're finally getting to the real meat of my degree in Film Music Seminar, jazz combo (not a class, but it might as well be) holds some intriguing performance possibilities, and I'm checking off some important entries on my "Movies To See" list in Classics of World Cinema. In addition, I have reconnected with an old friend from years back (with some interesting results) and met two other nice guys over the last month or so. One of them I would even consider dating, although at this point it would be premature to think of our relationship as heading down that path.
Why, then, these dispirited feelings? I have no idea. In my interactions with the aforementioned men, I have realized just how bad I am at reading social cues (the one I would not consider dating even went so far as to describe me as "distant and impersonal," but this is not why I wouldn't date him) and it occurs to me that this, combined with my crippling fear of rejection, may keep me alone for a long time. Depressing as that is, that is something I can hopefully make progress with. So, perhaps, this general melancholia is just a phase. I hope it passes. If not, I may need help.
I actually feel better having written all this down. Maybe I should write more often. Until next time, everyone!
Current Music: Willie Nelson - Sad Songs & Waltzes
So, I haven't written an entry specifically about my life since basically October of 2008. I am, clearly, the most thorough and prolific writer ever. I don't know what really compels me to write this, except maybe the hope that at least writing it down will get some of these feelings off my chest.
In September I moved to Winston-Salem to start grad school. The good news is, I love school. I love my classes, I love my professor, and I like my classmates. Also, I love my apartment. However, as I've come to realize over these past few months, I hate everything else. I hate living in a city where I don't know anybody, where I feel like a political outsider, and where it seems to be perpetually raining. I hate being alone all the time and I hate the paranoid feeling I have that Jeffrey, a fellow from college who actually lives in my apartment complex, is avoiding me. And I hate not having a job, thanks to a transfer that fell through.
But most of all, I miss Sarah. I miss her so much it hurts sometimes. She's engaged now to a photographer she met at work, and I've never seen her so happy. After years of depression in college, I'm very glad she's found someone to care about. She doesn't have a job at the moment (thanks, economy), but basically her life is on track. Which makes everything I'm about to say really selfish.
I want her back. I want us back. I want back the time where we talked every day and shared everything, watched movies every night and bitched about things at school, shared strange obsessions and went to supermarkets at 1am to buy cupcakes. And I just can't seem to accept that this part of my life is over. It's not like we never talk anymore, but we rarely do and whenever we hang out there are boundaries that weren't there before. She's still my best friend, but I don't know if I'm hers anymore, and that sometimes makes me feel like I've lost the best friend I've ever had. I know it's completely irrational, but sometimes I don't know how else to feel.
Not only that, I fucked up a few months ago. I don't want to recap all the details, because it's painful and embarrassing, but what it boils down to is that I told a joke I thought was funny but was in actuality really inappropriate. Now her fiance, I suspect, hates me (although Sarah was diplomatic in her choice of words when she informed me of this). It's not really a big deal in the long run, but I think I really hurt my chances of keeping our relationship as alive as I'd like. The incident has kept me awake more nights than I would care to admit.
None of this is her problem, I know. I just can't seem to work past it, and it makes me fucking miserable sometimes. I feel depressed for the first time since high school, and I've gotten so good over the years at bottling every single emotion deep inside that I can't cry it out. If I could work up the courage to go out and meet people, get out of this apartment, go to the fucking gym every once in a while, maybe I'd feel better. But I'm much weaker than I thought I was. Or maybe I'm just lazy, which is by far the more frightening of the two options.
In addition, my mother still won't leave me alone. She's constantly hounding me to get a job - I'm sorry, but the economy sucks right now and I don't really appreciate your insinuations that the fact I can't find a job is my fault. I moved into this apartment under the (I guess mistaken) impression that I was an adult and could handle things on my own. Cut the fucking umbilical cord and let me live my own life. The last time Sarah saw me, she told me she sensed I was unhappy. The truth? A simple text message from my mother had sent me into a weird vaguely-depressed mood.
Also, yes, I am still single. Not that that's any big surprise to anyone who knows me. The weird thing is, I still feel pretty good about it. I don't feel lonely because I don't have a boyfriend; I feel lonely because I don't have any friends here. And at this point, it's been so long since I've felt any real attraction to anyone that the very idea of being romantically involved with someone is completely alien to me. I can't even imagine it. I imagine this is unhealthy, but I'll keep it this way for now because I don't need another thing in my life to feel bad about.
Anyway, that's my life. I do feel better writing all this down. Perhaps at some point in the near future I'll provide another update - and I promise it won't be such a touchy-feely exploration of my neuroses. In the meantime, sorry it's been so long since my last real update, and I hope all you folks out there are doing well. See you guys next time!
Current Music: Bill Evans Trio - My Foolish Heart
This is high school all over again: Misinterpreting serious comments as jokes, or forgetting serious comments were even uttered in the first place. I thought I'd learned. Clearly not.
It says a lot about our country when you read an article about Meghan McCain and most of the reader comments deal with her weight rather than her opinions. Out.com recently published an article called "Meghan McCain Will Be Heard," an examination of 2008 presidential candidate John McCain's daughter and her belief that you can be pro-gay marriage and still be a Republican. Since the election McCain has been making the rounds on the TV circuit (The View, Larry King Live, and The Colbert Report to name a few) touting her support of gay marriage and establishing herself as the anti-Ann Coulter.
The problem is, nobody's been taking her seriously - she's been dismissed by The New York Times and Rush Limbaugh alike. This is not so surprising; her style is similar to Sarah Palin in that she tries to be approachable and conversational. But there's a difference between her and Palin: McCain doesn't come off as a rambling moron. Watching Palin's bizarre retirement speech was one of the more surreal experiences of 2009 (it was so nonsensical William Shatner appeared on The Tonight Show to perform the speech as a poem, to brilliant effect) - and one of the most frightening, because people still support her tooth and nail, buying her absurd claims that stepping down as governor after only half a term is the sort of move a maverick would make (the proper term for it is "quitting").
Why, then, does Palin still garner support while McCain does not? First of all, supporting gays in any way is unpopular - President Barack Obama still hasn't made any effort to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Second, McCain isn't polished like a true politician; she wears T-shirts and jeans instead of suits. Third, the Republican party refuses to move forward into the new century, clutching to outdated and prejudiced religious beliefs. This stale political platform has led to the widespread (and dangerous) belief that, should you differ from the party in any way, you are not a true Republican.
True, it might be hard to take someone who looks more like a sorority girl than a politician seriously. True, she has no political experience. But it would be a mistake to dismiss her as a closet Democrat or a "plus-size model" (to quote Laura Ingraham). Meghan McCain is, to these eyes, the only figure in the Republican party actively trying to change its ways and bring it into the 21st century. Sarah Palin, meet a real maverick.
This is kind of random, but I felt the need to post it. A few nights ago (and by "a few nights," it could have been as long ago as two weeks. I really don't remember) I dreamt that I was engaged in an epic duel of some sort with Al Sharpton. I was hiding behind what I think was a barrel, and we were throwing wine bottles at each other. All of them hit the floor, but I can only assume we were trying to hit each other. Also, he was dressed in a really sharp suit. That's about it. But I thought it was amusing.
|» School on Saturday|
We had snow this week. It was really quite lovely having a snowy wood to look at while a fire blazed in the living room and Barack Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States. It was not, however, lovely in that it resulted in a cancelled school day, which meant my mother would have to go in to work on Saturday. She, of course, decided that I should come along and help her shelve books. I therefore had to get up at 7:15, which is really way too early for my tastes. Then, once we got there, I had to wait 45 minutes for Mom's co-worker, who would be overseeing the book-moving, to get there. Then, once she did, she disappeared for two hours. So, I got up that early basically for nothing. I could have slept another three hours with no consequences. |
Since I had smartly brought a book with me, I read for a while, but I was still kind of tired and couldn't concentrate longer than a chapter. So I put the book down and looked around me. On Mom's desk was a journal with this commonly-quoted adage printed on its cover: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars." Since I had nothing else to do, I sat and thought about how cheesy a quote it is and, more importantly, how it isn't even true. If you miss the moon, you will land in a freezing cold vacuum where you will float forever, alone. The stars you were promised would be, in reality, millions of miles away. So, really, while it might be technically true, this has to be one of the worst inspirational phrases ever written. I think whoever writes phrases like these needs to do a better job.
Anyway, I am still at Mom's school. I don't know how much longer I'll be here, but theoretically moving the books shouldn't take that long. I just hope it happens soon, because I'm starving. Back to my book!
|» The More Boys I Meet, The More I Love My Dog.|
I'm not sure if any of you are aware of this fact, so I'll fill you in: I absolutely REFUSE to be set up by my mother. There are certain areas of my life in which she should NOT be involved, and my love life is one of them. Not only that, she's been conspiring with my next door neighbor and a helper who assists said neighbor with her autistic son.|
Thanks, but I don't need the help. Stay away from my private life. I'm perfectly happy being single. What business is it of yours whether or not I have - or even want - a boyfriend? The answer: None. And one more thing - I resent that you think it's cowardice that keeps me from meeting people. I don't WANT to meet people. If you'd had my experiences with the lovely gay community at UNCG perhaps you'd understand. And no, I don't want to fill you in. So leave it. Don't mention it again. If there's any news in this area that I feel warrants your attention, I'll tell you.
That is all.
|» 2008 Retrospective Survey|
1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?|
Study abroad - and also vote from overseas.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made any resolutions. I only have one for next year, which seems doable.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes - my cousin Laurie.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Depends on what you mean by close. A close childhood friend of mine died, but we weren't close in high school or college.
5. What countries did you visit?
England, the Netherlands, Italy, France.
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Better musical ability and various other things - you'd think I'd have a less vague answer.
7. What date(s) from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 17 - the day I left for England; November 4 - the presidential election; I'm sure there are a few others. My last time at UNCG was also this year.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Does study abroad count as an achievement?
9. What was your biggest failure?
I didn't really fail a lot this year.
10. Did you suffer any illness or injury?
I had a bad cold for a while in England.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I've bought several things, but I guess if I had to pick, I finally bought an external hard drive for my laptop. I don't need to worry about space anymore! Yay!
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I don't know. Nobody really did anything particularly spectacular this year. I will, however, throw out Sarah, for being able to withstand the worst job on earth and not going in there one day with an Uzi.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
George W. Bush, that Illinois governor.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Staying alive in England, and trips.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
I don't have one specific song.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? I don't remember. I'd say about the same.
ii. thinner or fatter? I'm fairly certain fatter. Much to my chagrin.
iii. richer or poorer? Way poorer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Exercising, traveling in England (despite the fact I don't have the money to really do so).
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I don't know. The bad things I did this year?
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With my family back in the States!
22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
23. How many one-night stands?
24. What was your favorite TV program?
Deadwood/Dexter/The Sopranos/Rome/Fringe/The IT Crowd/I'm Alan Partridge/any number of new shows I fell in love with this year.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
26. What was the best book you read?
I actually started reading heavily again this year, so this is a hard one. I shall list some of my favorites (I'm sure there are more than this, but as you all probably know my memory sucks):
- Watership Down (Richard Adams)
- Watchmen (Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons)
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller)
- Mrs. Bridge (Evan S. Connell)
- The Yiddish Policemen's Union (Michael Chabon)
- White Noise (Don DeLillo)
I'm currently reading "In The Lake Of The Woods" by Tim O'Brien which is also quite good; I would have normally finished it weeks ago, but I'm still in England and tend to keep myself quite busy. That is why it is not on the list.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I'm going to go with Brian Wilson on this one. Yes, I know, a music nerd like me should have been listening to Brian Wilson for years. Sue me.
28. What did you want and get?
To go to Italy for the first time.
29. What did you want and not get?
Uh . . . the ability to instantly lose weight.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
"The Dark Knight," no question. "WALL-E" was also great.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I hung around with people next door who barely knew me, but it was still in the top three birthdays of my adult life so far. I turned 23.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not having to write six essays at the end of the term.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Yet another attempt to become more fashionable, but then discovering I had neither the money or patience to fully invest in it.
34. What kept you sane?
Friends, family, music, movies. All the typical stuff.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Hmm . . . I don't think I started watching "House" until this year, so I'll go with Jesse Spencer.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Anything infuriating the conservatives did.
37. Who did you miss?
Friends and family back at home while I was in England.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
"You can't have a pie without Cool Hwip."
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I don't really have one. However, I will pick one a quote from one of my favorite songs that came out this year - "So so what? I'm still a rock star, I got my rock moves, and I don't need you." Those lines stroke my ego and support my sense of self-sufficiency. Rock on.
|» Thoughts On The Election Of Barack Obama|
Today marks a truly historic day for America. For the first time an African-American has been elected to the Presidency of the United States. But that is not why I am so thrilled that Barack Obama has defeated John McCain. I am thrilled because today marks the beginning of the end of eight long years of disastrous leadership characterized by war, political strife and financial turmoil, a period when our country threatened to collapse into cynicism and apathy and our leaders became corrupt and bloated with power. Yesterday, America fought back. They realized that the challenges facing America and the world are too great for anyone but a visionary leader like Barack Obama. He not only brought the promise of change, he brought something greater. He brought hope. Hope. It's seemed so hard to come by these last four years. I have hope. What a strange and wonderful feeling.|
It is also strange to be watching this historic day in Britain, instead of at home with my family and friends. I truly wish I had been back with my fellow Americans to witness and celebrate the victory. But even thousands of miles away, my joy is too strong to be lessened, and for the first time in my life, I feel truly patriotic. I look forward to January when President Obama takes office. I sincerely hope that he can make good on his promises for change, and that our nation can rise from the ashes of the Bush administration and restore itself to a place of respect in the world. I hope.
Congratulations to John McCain, who put up an admirable campaign and offered a truly gracious concession speech. But most of all, congratulations to Barack Obama, President-Elect of the United States!
|» Song Review: Jack White & Alicia Keys - "Another Way To Die"|
As everyone knows by now, the next James Bond film is set for release on November 14th in the US and October 31 in the UK. While I haven't seen any reviews of the film itself, one thing that's garnered a great deal of attention is the theme song, "Another Way To Die," a collaboration between Jack White and Alicia Keys. The first duet in Bond history, the song has been the subject of quite some controversy amongst Bond fans, so I thought I'd offer my opinion.|
Right now there seem to be only two reactions to the song: You either love it or hate it. You will notice, however, that those who love it frequently mention it took many listens to start feeling it. This was the case with me as well. The first time I heard it I was bewildered - it's completely different from any Bond theme to come before; the pairing of Jack White's grungy blues and Alicia Keys' smooth R&B is a very strange combination and is off-putting the first time you hear it. This is especially true in the chorus, where their voices lock into a unison that still manages to sound dissonant. In addition, the song is too long and at times feels under-produced, at points almost as spare as a White Stripes song.
Then I listened to it a few times, and its abrupt shifts in rhythm started to flow and make sense. I realized that the sinister melody, while not as catchy as other Bond tunes, is far more suited for the new, dark version of Bond (portrayed so well by Daniel Craig) than Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" from CASINO ROYALE ever was. Plus, the song rocks. White is an astonishingly skilled drummer and his arrangement makes effective use of horns and strings. Keys has a decidedly lesser role, but her singing during the verses is quite sultry and her piano playing adds much-needed color to the song.
In the end, I think this is a great song and is already one of my favorite Bond tunes. I imagine in the film it will be edited for time and beefed up with added orchestral parts (as Cornell's tune was in CASINO), which should help fix some of its problems. But as it is, it's unlikely to become a classic in the league of "Goldfinger." If you want to hear it, I've posted the music video below. Unfortunately, it looks almost like an extended iTunes/Coke commercial (coincidentally, an instrumental clip of the song made it into a recent Coke commercial), and Jack White, who I normally find hot in that weird Jack White way, is marred by a haircut that's almost as bad as Javier Bardem's in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. In any case, I still like it. Give it a listen and share your opinions!