Big Moments, Part 1

I was looking back on my life today--as I often do--and I asked myself the age old question, 'How did I get here?' Here I am, 21 glorious years old, with a luscious head of hair and future full of promise, and as I reflected on the long path that brought me here, I realized that there were a few seminal occurrences that made me the man I am today. So, in the good spirit of a new year, I decided I'd share some of these 'big moments' in an ongoing series called 'Big Moments'. Hope you like it, show your mom.

Part 1: The First Time I Smashed Something

I was 8 years old the first time I participated in what is now one of my favorite pastimes: smashing things. My folks had just purchased a new TV (a 32" Sanyo, I believe) leaving our old television set (a completely inadequate 27" Phillips) sitting derelict on the back porch, waiting to go to the Dumpster. That's when my brother, aged 11, had one of the best ideas he has had in his life to date. Hey Mom, he said, can we take that TV and uh break it? Sure, my mom said, thus cementing her place in my heart forever, completing the process started by birthing and nurturing me. So, we took the old TV, drug it over to the trees by our house, raided the garage for hammers, crow bars, baseball bats, broomsticks, wrenches, I think a knife might have even worked its way in there. Shortly put, we armed ourselves to the teeth with anything we thought would be awesome to hit an old TV set with. Then, we waled on it. Oh man, did we wale on it. I was only 8, I could barely lift a crowbar, but when I drove the hook end of that iron bar through the glass of the screen, I knew I had found true love. We beat that TV with a savage rhythm. Those older TVs are full of parts and we smacked that TV around until everyone of those parts was strewn on the ground and shattered to bits. We beat it to bits, smashing the tiny pieces into the ground, and if we would have had some gas to dump on it and burn, I'm willing to say we would have done that to. People that do heroin say that the first time they shoot up is the best time, and every other time is just an attempt to recreate that feeling. Well, smashing things is pretty much the exact opposite of that. Every time you smash something, it's just as awesome as the first time or the second time or the third time. Seriously, you're destroying something with your bare (bear) hands; what could be better? So, that's why "The First Time I Smashed Something" was, in fact, a big moment in my life.


My Christmas List Top Ten

This year I struggled to come up with good ideas for Christmas gifts. I knew that I didn't want socks or random gift cards. So here is my list of the top things that I want Santa/my parents/make a wish to give me this year.

10)My Junior Year of High school endurance
I have already begun to come upon the phase in my life where I talk about the glory days of high school athletics. Back in my prime I was a fast son of a gun who could run all day. Now I am lucky if I haul my ever-fattening ass over to the gym once a week. If I could be have my endurance back from high school I think I would act like less of an old man…and yes I am only 21.

9)Trip to a Music Festival
Lollapooloza was an incredible experience for me this year. I learned to appreciate the value of a high energy, musically precise show. In 2010, I want to again be able to see bands like Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, and Santigold all within the span of a few hours. Whether it is South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, etc, I want to get back in the festival attitude. Sidenote: A Festivalus for the Rest of Us, my idea for a Christmas Music festival to allow hipsters (who are likely Senifeld fans) sanctuary from the parents they hate so much

8)A Power ‘Stache
Throughout history the most powerful movers and shakers have always been clad in amazing facial hair. Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Mike Ditka, and my Dad are perfect examples of this fact. The style of choice for me is definitely the mustache, but lately the stache has been more funny than intimidating. In 2010, I hope that Santa can bring me a sprinkle of magic dust and stimulate my stache to reach its full potential.

I am a huge Soccer fan but unfortunately live in a country whose team nine times out of ten blows. This year’s team has some real promise to make it to the second round of the tournament but I want them to go far. I am very fearful that this bunch will have a catastrophic blowout and be sent home from the biggest sporting event in the world with their tails between their legs…again. Santa if you know any good forwards, send them stateside.

6)Creation of New Words
This year thanks to the genius of wordsmith Matt Mavec aka Papa Bear, I was introduced to a constant stream of words and phrases I had never heard before. So I’ll quick catch all you uninformed readers up
Sardy Tardy=Freshman Girl/Hottie
Twinky Binky=Twins/ Hotties
Chubby McDubby=McDonalds Double Cheeseburger
Rottie=Rotisserie Chicken (that is on AOC’s car)
Biddy=Girl (hotness is irrelevant)
These words are awesome and make my day every time I heard them casually tossed around so if Santa could work out a way to keep this new phrases coming I will be very appreciative. Side note/Possible new words: Chinky Dinky=Rice Bowl Chicken, Jagga=someone who acts/looks like a member of the Jersey Shore, Freckles McGee=Hideous Hobag, Mr Garbage=Will Kriefels.

5)Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are awesome. They combine the feeling of adventure of gallivanting around with friends and competition that fuels my drive to win at all costs. Challenges like taking a picture with the ugliest person in Wal-Mart, swapping shirts with a stranger, shaving Lightweight’s bunny tail would provide entertain and stories to last the whole year through.

4)A Harry K Chevrolet hat
Two years ago, AlejandroPablo brought me a gift back from break. It was a gray stocking cap from his dad’s car dealership, which became one of my most prized possessions. It was with me through and awkward freshman year, a slightly less awkward sophomore year, and the start of a minimally awkward junior year. This hat was my go to on days when I decided a morning shower just wasn’t gonna happen and days when I wanted to look like I was in a folk band (which covers almost every day). This year it was lost in transportation of winter clothes to and from Omaha. I pray that Santa (or Doug Knust) can hear my plea and answer my Christmas wish for a new Harry K cap.
3)More Brain Cells
School sucks. I spend way too much time in the library; constantly worry about keeping a certain GPA and getting good MCAT scores. If Santa brings me more brain cells then I will likely be able to go to more game days, frat harder, and destroy these new brain cells with less concern than I do now. While at the same time annihilating exams left and right. This is basically wishing for more wishes but it’s my list so I don’t care
2)A Chance encounter with Jersey Shore Cast
If there is one certainty in life it is that I love the Jersey Shore. Whenever I am channel surfing and stumble across this show I smile. Call them guidos, guidettes, or jaggas(short for Jaggameister their drink of choice), these kids make me feel like im doing something with my life. If I am down on myself about a bad test or about wasting an afternoon, I look at these kids and know that life isn’t as bad as it could be. Thank you Jersey Shore and if I do ever get the chance to meet you all I will make sure to have my shirt off.

1)Irish Championship
For my entire life my favorite football team has gone without a championship. This holiday season Brian Kelly comes to the Irish family just like Jesus did providing hope and preaching good news (of recruiting and winning). This year I would really like Santa/God to deliver some divine providence to my boys to help me avoid sorrowful Saturdays that plagued my 2009.

Honorable Mention
Cool Gal- This last year I have definitely been on a rollercoaster with more lows than highs as far as girls go (see Bulleted List). This year if Santa could bring me a girl that I can just hangout with and be my weird self around I would be pleased.


Top Ten Awesome Things of 2009

10) Spaghetti
Why It's Awesome: You can make it in one pot from a maximum three ingredients.
Will It Be Awesome in 2K10?: As long as I stay a poor, spag will stay on the list.

9) Girls
Why It's Awesome: Turns out we're not all gay,
Will It Be Awesome in 2K10?: Probably. Maybe. I don't know.

8) Croquet
Why It's Awesome: Pretending to have some modicum of class while smoking cigars and drinking Natty Light in the front yard is the quintessential awesome.
Will It Be Awesome in2K10?: Once all the fucking snow melts, probably.

7) Rock'n Horse
Why It's Awesome: Best known as the bar where I celebrated my 21st b-day/lost my dignity forever, I spent most of my time and money in this fine tavern in summer 2009. Thursday night dollar bottles are a must, and the bag shots are only for the brave.
Will It Be Awesome in 2K10?: Unless I go back home this summer, I don't see the Horse being anything more than a hometown nostalgia stop.

6) Colorado Rockies
Why It's Awesome: After a disastrous start, their run to wild-card contention gave a semblance of substance to my summer. And they actually won a playoff game before the Phils handed them their asses.
Will It Be Awesome in 2K10?: I hope so.

5) Pistol P and Me's Halloween Costumes
Why It's Awesome: Check us out. We looked badass, even if no one knew who Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo were.
Will It Be Awesome in 2K10?: No. This was a one night special, and special as it was it will not be making a return.

4) The Room
Why It's Awesome: The funniest drama ever written is a masterpiece/disaster set in motion. Tommy Wiseau's writing/acting/directing/producing really shines off the screen. Or something.
Will It Be Awesome in 2K10?: I hope so. Without this movie, I'm not sure what I'll look to as the 'your life could be worse' beacon.

3) Coors Light
Why It's Awesome: Because it's Coors Light.
Will It Be Awesome in 2K10?: A perennial powerhouse, the Silver Bullet is here to stay.

2) Patrick Swayze
Why It's Awesome: The legend passed on this year, succumbing to pancreatic cancer after fighting his hardest fight since the end of Roadhouse. He left behind a legacy of cinematic masterworks, including Roadhouse, Red Dawn, Point Break, Ghost, and Dirty Dancing. He will be missed.
Will It Be Awesome in 2K10?: Fratrick lives on in us all.

1) Food Network
Why It's Awesome: Rare was the day in 2009 that didn't begin with me sitting on the couch watching Food Network. It's various stars became like friends to me, and I am currently on a first name basis with most of them. And, somehow, along the way I think I picked up a few cooking skills.
Will It Be Awesome in 2K10?: Food Network's greatest enemy towards continued awesomeness is its becoming commonplace in my life. As I enjoy it everyday it may fail to wow me.

These are my Awesome Things of 2009.
What will rock ballas in 2010?
Only time will tell...


2009's Top 25 Albums of the Year

This list was much more difficult to make than I thought it would be. I'm not sure if anyone even cares what I think this year's top 25 albums were, but I thought I would share my opinion anyway. 2009 was a much better year for music than it is given credit for. One of the most notable things about the 2009 year in music for me was the intro of the "chill-wave" or "glo-fi" artists like Neon Indian, Washed Out, and Memory Tapes. 2009 was also very kind to new artists in general, as well as those releasing their sophomore albums. I do think people may have some argument about this list (especially near the top) but that can be said for almost any year end list. I find that the year's top album is very debatable and to be completely honest, there are a few different albums that could make the argument. Please let us know your thoughts, as we are interested to hear. I also thought about doing an honorable mention, but that would just make it too easy wouldn't it?

25. Wavves - Wavvves

Dear ol' Nathan Williams. What a year it has been for him. Love him or hate him, I do find that Wavves created a very original album and find that he has more talent than what some people maybe give him credit for. I'll be interested to hear where he takes his sound from here. Wavvves is a great album to listen to in the summer, driving in your car with the windows rolled down, looking for mischief.
No Hope Kids - Wavves

24. Bear In Heaven - Beast Rest Forth Mouth

Another newer artist with a fairly original sound. This album leaves you pondering the sound, yet wanting more. Bear In Heaven have made an album here that does an amazing job of describing that feelings of teen angst and adolescent love. Oh you remember the feeling...
You Do You - Bear In Heaven

23. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains

The passion that Cymbals play with and write in their lyrics I find to be a major part of their appeal. Joseph D'Agostino sings with such heartfelt emotion, it cannot easily be ignored. The passion of their music is what makes Why There Are Mountains a special album.
Wind Phoenix - Cymbals Eat Guitars

22. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II

Raekwon's highly anticipated, long-awaited sophomore album does not do anything to pursue a new, original sound for hip-hop that is ground-breaking. Nothing about the album sounds like a new wave of hip-hop. But what it does do is takes the listener back to a time of real, vintage raw 90's rap. And it does that extremely well.
House Of Flying Daggers ft. Inspectah Deck Ghostface Method Man - Raekwon

21. Japandroids - Post-Nothing

The lo-fi duo from Vancouver seem like an unlikely pair for a top 25 album of 2009, but each song on this album is a story told in such an original manner. 8 enthusiastic garage-rock songs about girls, growing up, and going away from home.
Wet Hair - Japandroids

20. Cass McCombs - Catacombs

Catacombs, despite it's name, is a surprisingly warm album. Though at times the album may seem a bit melancholy, I hold that it is more about a sensation of hope and thankfulness. Heartfelt songs like "You Saved My Life" are the kind of songs that inspire one to become a singer-songwriter.
You Saved My Life - Cass McCombs

19. Mos Def - The Ecstatic

Mos Def put out what I believe to be the best hip-hop/rap album this year. From top to bottom, this album is golden. There are definitely special gems hidden throughout. Mos Def continues to progress as a musician and his experimental, progressive ways and insightful lyrics give the hip-hop genre a lot to look forward to.
Auditorium ft. Slick Rick - Mos Def

18. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

What a great name for a band. Especially this band. This indie pop group put out a great record that has great song after great song. From top to bottom, it's a fantastic album. What's even better is the potential that this band has. Looking forward to their future work.
Young Adult Friction - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

17. Fever Ray - Fever Ray

Karin Dreijer Andersson's Fever Ray was a highly anticipated debut for fans of the electronic group The Knife. Karin's voice is easily recognizable. Venetian plague masks are a cornerstone of her wardrobe. The first impression is that atmosphere trumps narrative; bass notes, simple rhythms, and stark synth chords creep like a rolling fog while a cast of pitch-shifted voices emerge from dark corners of the woods or darker recesses of the mind.
When I Grow Up - Fever Ray

16. Wild Beasts - Two Dancers

Wild Beasts provide an innovative sound that is very consistent throughout the entire album and is true to the name of the band as well. Lead singer, Hayden Thorpe, uses his falsetto as almost a calling for his inner "wild beast" and mesmerizes the listener with his changes in octaves throughout songs. An original sound that's done to a 't'.
All The King's Men - Wild Beasts

15. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

Personally, I find this to be Karen O and crew's most complete and fulfilling album yet, as well as the most accessible. The album is packed with climactic moments. It opens extremely strong with "Zero" and "Heads Will Roll" and leads into 'Mapsesque' ballads like "Skeletons". The passion that Karen O sings with live will never be fully captures in studio, but through her lyrical ability and courageous yet inviting voice, she can sure make you feel like she's singing specifically to you.
Heads Will Roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

14. Atlas Sound - Logos

Bradford Cox is an interesting fellow. Despite what you may think about him, there is no denying the fact that he is one talented bro. Cox's solo project definitely took a huge step forward with Logos. Cox wrote the album off and on for over two and a half years. The songwriting and crafting is so delicately intricate that while listening to some of the sounds that he puts in, one can almost wander off into a state disillusion. "Walkabout" is such an amazing collaboration with Noah Lennox. Even without Lennox's help, this album carries a new weight into Cox's already impressive career.
Walkabout (ft. Noah Lennox) - Atlas Sound

13. Dan Deacon - Bromst

Dan Deacon's Bromst is a perfect example of a sound that is recognizable and has the same basic elements as his previous work, but has been revolutionized by an amazing advancement in technology. Aka Bromst is Dan Deacon's normal sound on electronic steroids. Dan Deacon's schmancy new toy is a computer-operated player piano that has the ability to generate notes faster than any pair of human/bear/tiger hands. This is a good thing.
Woof Woof - Dan Deacon

12. The Antlers - Hospice

Hospice is a gorgeously crafted album, but has the ability to emotionally destroy listeners. Hospice, as the name implies, is not an easy album to take all in. One almost has to be in the right state of mind, but when you are in that mind-set, no album captures the feeling better. The haunting songs' plainspoken prose tells of mental illness, abortion, cancer, and death, but couched in soaring anthems and swathed in layers of ambient noise, its heartbreaking stories are easy to appreciate.
Bear - The Antlers

11. Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms

An appropriately named album, Psychic Chasms, captures the essence of the "chillwave" or "glo-fi" or whatever you want to call it genre perfectly. It is this genre's pinnacle. Alan Palomo's Neon Indian project sets an atmosphere that is truly groundbreaking and not easily replicated. The craft of Palomo's music almost feels as though it comes from a cassette that was found in an old beat-up pair of Reebok Pumps from the 80's and mixed with laser-beams and soundboard noises. Yet some how through all of this, Neon Indian contains a melody that is catchy and easy to follow.
Deadbeat Summer - Neon Indian

10. Passion Pit - Manners

Perhaps no album captures the essence of a sunny day better than Manners. The album is almost on the edge of being 'too much', but thankfully stays in bounds and hits a homerun. Passion Pit has an uncanny ability to make any foot tap or head bob. It's just one of those albums. It also has some amazing individual tracks on it. Tracks like "Little Secrets" and "Sleepyhead" capture exactly what is great about this band.
Little Secrets - Passion Pit

9. jj - jj n° 2

Sunny, blissed-out Swedish pop that borders on new age/easy-listening/adult contemporary. The lazy, hazy, dreamy sound that was written and born in the Alboran (which one can easily recognize upon listen), is backed with a strong hip-hop influenced continual beat propels the perfect amount of chillness and beat hungry listeners throughout this album. The ability to sample both hip-hop lyrics and beats while putting their own stamp on it is an impressive, yet underrated trait. Listening to this album on a beach is a must.
From Africa To Malaga - jj

8. St. Vincent - Actor

Actor shapes to form what Annie Clark intended to create with Marry Me. Her sophomore release shows off her precise guitar leads, off-kilter arrangements, and inventive musicianship. As a musician, there is no one quite like Annie Clark's sound. There is no telling where she will go from, only up I suppose.
The Party - St. Vincent

7. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

What is so great about this new Phoenix album? They have the same sound as they've always had, it's nothing special. This is true, except for that this album is special. Phoenix have consistently pumped out great albums and great songs. But not like this. This album has amazingly catchy tunes in "Lisztomania", "1901", "Rome", and "Girlfriend". These songs perfect what Phoenix have always done. This album has pushed Phoenix's sound to the next level.
Lisztomania - Phoenix

6. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns

Two Suns draws together Natasha Khan's two worlds of love, one fantastical and the other real. This album is a visionary quest through Natasha's struggles in an impossible desire and dark romance, resulting in an album that is alternately exhilarating and emotionally exhausting. "Natasha Khan invests her songs with the heightened drama of epic fiction without sacrificing nuance or emotional depth. Her darkest fantasies are isolated in the persona of a toxic yet fragile narcissist named Pearl, who in the album's brilliant centerpiece "Siren Song" delivers a line so devastating in its terrible irony-- "My name is Pearl and I love you the best way I know how"-- that it can be hard to listen without wanting to somehow shake the man she is addressing and beg him to run away. Much of the record's seductive allure is owed to Khan's gift for melody and evocative atmosphere, but ultimately the most compelling element is her voice, which is as technically stunning as it is expressive. Her passionate performances keep the songs from descending too far into misery, and place the emphasis on the beautiful romance in the music rather than all the melancholy and tragedy. Matthew Perpetua
Daniel - Bat For Lashes

5. Girls - Album

Christopher Owens has had an incredible, almost movie-like life till this point in his age. He capitalizes off his incredible experiences by an amazing ability of storytelling through his songwriting. Natives to San Francisco, Girls' sound has a definite west coast influence and almost a 1960's am radio, Beach Boys type spring to it. It's a sound from a summer of love. Owens' sound is heavily influenced from older artists from the past that shape a new authenticity that has the listener waiting for more.
Lust For Life - Girls

4. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

To put a label on exactly what type of music it is that Dirty Projectors make is difficult to say the least. They have a sound that is damn near inimitable. Bitte Orca only adds to the complexity of their sound, yet invites the listener to melodic wonderland that takes you from one end of the spectrum to the other. Few groups have the amazing talents and abilities in their members that they do. Dave Longstreth has an extremely recognizable voice and guitar licks that are second to no one. All this while having amazingly talented vocalists in both Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian. What Bitte Orca does so well is showcase these talents in amazingly complex, well-written music.
Stillness Is The Move - Dirty Projectors

3. The xx - xx

The xx have a sound that is nothing real fancy. In fact it is a pretty simple sound. Yet, it is one of the most innovative, original sounds to come out in some time. The fact that it's so simple is part of what makes it different from other music out there, which can often have too much layering. Diving rhythms and crawling basslines keep tensions high, steady into a mellifluous flow of tender storytelling. The xx have an authentic, original, and an excessively casual style of music. Listening, it sounds almost careless in the way the melodies meander, but it retains beauty and meaning. These are songs to be sung inches from someone’s ear, preferably with the lights off. Total make-out music, if you will. Oliver Sim sounds like he is singing in his sleep. If music were a water park, his voice would be the lazy river attraction for all the tag-along parents. Their album is the type that I can put on repeat while doing work and neither be bored, nor over-stimulated and distracted. It hints an influence of R&B that brings just enough bounce to their sound. Despite its ability to work as background music some of the sounds are definitely pretty interesting, namely the first half or so of "Fantasy". The eerie hollowness resembled in my mind the distant lonely drone of a Muslim call to prayer in some middle-eastern city. Where low-fi bands like Wavves can sometimes overload the senses, The xx leave me with a craving for more.
Crystalised - The xx

2. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

"I just want, four walls and adobe sla?(b/t)s for my girls!" Quite possibly the most famous lyric from 2009. Animal Collective have an amazing ability to change their sound from album to album, yet retain the same recognizability. Their sound continues to evolve into what has become "yep, that's definitely AnCo". But that sound can be so many different things, what makes it Animal Collective? Merriweather Post Pavillion has an accessibility to it in that the songs have almost "poppy" pulse to them. This does not mean that they changed their sound to a conventional classic rock or iPod pop commercial appeal. On the contrary, the album stays true to Animal Collective's experimental ways. Perfect proportions of tribal beats, psychedelic pop, and analog electronica form what is Merriweather Post Pavillion.
My Girls - Animal Collective

1. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

Perhaps, I may admit, I am a bit biased as to the influence of their amazing live performances, but Grizzly Bear created one hell of an album in Veckatimest. Grizzly Bear's third LP and best to date, Veckatimest feels cinematic in scope, like a 12-act progression through a beautifully constructed panorama. Its lavish composition finds multiple moving parts coalescing into a single, tangible whole, where even wordless moments are fat with enchanting imagery. Listening to it is like trying to chart a swift breeze by the flutter of the leaves it touches. It weaves in and out and wanders in circles. That isn’t hyperbole or an attempt at conceptualizing the abstract; you literally find the music moving around you, at times predominantly in front, swimming to the side and swooping behind before flying back around. Take the introduction, “Southern Point,” a kaleidoscopic five minute song with jazz inclinations that makes you nearly forget for a moment that someone is even singing as you get caught up in simply following the sound. Throughout the album, ornate arrangements, accompaniment from the Acme String Quartet and Brooklyn Youth Choir, and even episodes of acoustic solitude assist in that intoxication. Such simple complexity doesn’t peel away its layers in just one or even 10 spins through. Even “Two Weeks,” the critically adored standards ballad and most straightforward lyrical vehicle on the record, does not fully unfurl itself until you’ve had time to absorb its plea to quietude amid a sometimes frenzied relationship, the plea itself a slow indulgence.

Founder Ed Droste has noted that Veckatimest is the first time the group has truly collaborated, creating each step together rather than patching together piecemeal from the individual creative efforts of its members. Infusing a more collective element from the start is likely primary among reasons for Veckatimest’s subdued extravagance. It’s allowed Grizzly Bear to compose a seamlessly diverse and innovative piece in which even more obvious genre samples, such as the aforementioned jazz and standards forms, are still almost lost under the ethereal elegance of its atmosphere. Only upon returning to the record repeatedly, skipped tracks be damned, can you expect to discover the variegated textures of their colorful and meticulous efforts. Ironically, this is made all the more difficult as each new discovery can distract from the potential of the next, so as the record comes to a close you once again find yourself pressing play.
Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear
Ready, Able - Grizzly Bear


The Bulleted List, December 21

Things I'm Going To Miss When I'm Old

  • Keystone Ice
  • shotgunning
  • Xbox
  • Nattty Ice
  • not having a job
  • sleeping on couches
  • my teeth


Insight and Other Nonsense.

If we have a snow day tomorrow, I will get out of bed, move to the couch and watch TV all day. I might bring myself to look at some homework, but it’s very doubtful that I will accomplish anything of overwhelming productivity. At some point, the roads and the weather will clear up and I might be able to convince enough people to leave the house to go see a movie or something. But, more than likely, I will sit inside all day.

If I had a snow day twelve years ago, I would be out of bed earlier than I would have been on a school day. Within the hour I would have my brothers up and going, bundled up and out in the world. Most of the time, the storm that shut school down would still be blowing, and the wind and driving snow would drive us back inside. There, we would wait for the storm to calm down enough for to go romping through the fresh pack. And romp we would. Up the hill and down the hill on homemade sleds and tractor tire tubes we would go until our legs were too tired to motor through the snow. We’d get back inside, out of our wet clothes and to the toys and games that lay neglected during the week while we were locked up in the classroom. And even as the day wore on to its close, the only thing waiting for us was a shorter week than we usually had to tolerate. This was the best, a day as good as it gets, a little slice of freedom smack in the center of the drudging winter semester.

If we get a snow day tomorrow, it will be just be another day where I don’t go to class and sit around like a pile, just like last Monday where I told all my teachers that I had to go home for a family emergency and instead spent the time alternating between watching TV and staring blankly at my computer, consuming the best/worst of the internet. This was a day where I didn’t have to go to school. This was a day where I had no obligations, no responsibilities, no business at hand, the same as any elementary-era snow day. So, why wasn’t I out storming through the neighborhood or ruckusing with my friends? Why wasn’t think 8 hours of freedom being marked in the same rambunctious stripe of activity? Well, obviously it’s because I live in Gifford Park, which is extraordinarily deficient of accessible and acceptable sledding hills. Also, I’m 21 years old, and, no matter what I tell myself, I’m not really the kind of guy who can romp through the snow anymore. I’m too old and too lazy and all the neighbors would look at me funny. But, for the most part, it’s because the sense of freedom isn’t there anymore. When I got the day off from school when I was twelve, it was a free day mandated from some higher power, a gift delivered through my radio and the bottom line ticker on the local news. This was a free day which I had waited for, begged for, prayed for. It was a free day brought on by a congruence of unique circumstances. When I take the day off from class its day off I give myself, a day off delivered by a fib-filled email to my teachers, a temporary reprieve from assuming my responsibilities. This day off is cheap. It is unremarkable in every sense of the world. Instead of being handed a stopgap vacation in which I can revel with the masses, I am shucking off the load I am obligated to carry, I am shying away.

After this realization, I have to ask myself: will this keep happening? I’ve seen the amazing become unincredible before. When I was 8, I would save my money for a month to buy a new G.I. Joe. Now, I can drive to Target and pick up a cartful of them. When I was 15, talking to a cute girl was something I approached with keyed up trepidation and quivering buoyancy. Now, they’re just one more person I have to say hi to on the way class. When I was 19, I pursued the prospect of a 30 pack of Coors Light as hotly as I would keen to a pot of gold. Now, the only thing a case of beer says to me is that it will take me five minutes to drive to Bakers and clip another 20 dollars off my bank account. The things that I used to treasure are becoming commonplace.
I’m 21 years old and I’m a junior in college. Whether I like it or not, the real world has been waiting for me my entire life and, unfortunately, its patience won’t be tested much longer. I feel like I’ve hit my stride somewhat on my jaunt to the mists of tomorrow, but I’m still worried I’m not running on the right track. What if what I want to do is just another snow day? In ten years will this rhetoric and comp stuff still be interesting? I’m worried that the ideals I love and strive to embody will no longer enthrall me once I get to their level. I don’t want to work to get somewhere to realize that I’m bored with where I am. I don’t want that, not one bit, no thank you. I am terrified of the day when I wake up and teaching English isn’t fun anymore, the day where I wake up and the snow day is just a day off. I don’t want to burn out what’s keeping me going.

I’m not sure how I avoid this seemingly inevitable collapse. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I think I just have to keep my head down and keep moving forward. If I’m working to get the things I want, I don’t want to know when I get them. I don’t want the world to stop and tell me, ‘Good job. You did it. This is all you wanted.’ I don’t want to know when I got where I wanted to be or how hard I had to work to get there. I don’t want to know where to find what I want, because then I can just keep repeating myself, getting bored, and going crazy. My childhood was a series of waves of wants and desires rising and falling before a new one hauled up. But now I’m a grown up and I’ve got to ride this wave for awhile, so I’d better make it a God-damn good one.


The Bulleted List, December 9

Improvements the Buffs Could Make For the 2010 Season

  • start Todd Helton at quarterback
  • pass to Scottie McKnight...on every down
  • Dan Hawkins can only get a haircut after winning a game
  • more batteries
  • Cody to the O-line for one play (that's all it will take)
  • no road games