Monday, December 8, 2014

Grinched

I promised myself that this year would be different. I told myself to hammer out a plan for Winter 2014-15. And so I dealt out a few list items...



  • Spend as much time with best friends as possible.
    This has been doable, although Gerg has been out of town and Tollie lives on the other side of town. But, I've been trying to best to get out and see them. It is absolutely necessary to surround myself with people to survive.
  • Join in social occasions.
    Christmas party? Check. Went to a bar alone to watch a CBJ game. Going to Hocking Hills tomorrow. Hammering out plans for other Christmas things and hockey games. It is a MUST.
  • Do not obsess over fiancee.
    Impossible. The unfortunate truth is that the thing that makes me the happiest in the world is also the one with the power to bring me the most sorrow. Have I told her this? Absolutely. Does she think about it? I don't think so. I try not to think about it, but it's so easy for her to dig nails into my soul.
  • Have a good birthday, possibly without parents.
    This one is interesting, and comes with accompanying stories.

I've had a few interesting and/or bad birthdays. When I turned 18, I called my girlfriend at the time and found out she was cheating on me. I can remember a year where my entire present load was 2 small lego sets and breakfast at Bob Evans. Not that I was concerned with the materialistic side of things, but it felt like a fairly small load compared to what my sisters had received. Of course my parents always brag these days that they "always made an effort to separate the two" (my birthday and Christmas), but the only thing I always looked forward to for my birthday was the Bob Evans breakfast and shopping with my Grandma.

But last year was different. Every possible year in our adult lives, our parents have treated each of us kids to dinner of our choice for our birthdays. They've even told us to invite friends for these occasions. This past birthday, I decided on Genji's, a popular Japanese steakhouse close to our home. It's a fun atmosphere and the food is fantastic, so of course I chose that location. I brought Kelly with me and told our friends Anthony and Andi to join with their kids. Everything was going fine and well until it came time to pay the bill. My friends covered their stuff and my parents took care of there's, but then they made sure to point out that I had to pay for mine. I was shocked. Literally speechless. I didn't have any money on me because of Christmas and because I hadn't been paid yet, and if I had known that I would have to cover my own bill, I definitely would not have chosen a location that charged $20+ a head.

I asked Kelly and she didn't have any money. I grabbed my phone and pulled up my bank app to see if I had the money to cover a $50 bill plus tip. I did not. I gave the man my card knowing that it would either be declined or I would be hit with an overdraft fee the next day. Fortunately, the card ran and I got to go home in what I can only describe as a daze. I opened presents, went to bed and just kind of tried to forget the whole thing happened. And I hadn't spent much time dwelling on it until last month when we went out for my sister's birthday and my parents boasted to the waiter that they "always make sure to pay" when taking the kids out for their birthdays. Of course, I spoke up and pointed out how I had to overdraft my bank account to pay for my own birthday the year before, and they feigned some sort of ignorance. I truly think that they did it and didn't put a second thought towards it until I brought it up again. My dad even apologized, which made me want to be even more sick.

It was so typical of my parents when it happened. I got no help for college (even though they told me not to worry about saving for it), my sisters has all of their books covered. I was never given driving lessons (even though it was promised that I'd be taught), but my sisters were helped with lessons and driving school. I was told (when I was 19) that if I didn't find a place to live, I'd be "out on the street" (verbatim from both of my parents), while my baby sister (now 24) would still be living with my parents if my middle sister hadn't offered to take her in. On a larger scale, our parents promised that we'd have yearly vacations to exotic locations (never happened) and it turned out that my dad pissed away all of our money on hookers and other women. So typical that a man was making six figures while Mom worked part time to help pay bills. There was even a time where they were borrowing money from us kids. These are the things I think of when my parents make me pay for things that they say they'll pay for. I don't consider myself greedy, selfish or at all entitled, but I've worked damn hard my entire life just to keep my own neck above water, and I hate that us kids were given so little when my parents supposedly had so much.

SO, back to the original point: what about birthday number 29? There is a Blue Jackets game that day that I'm planning on attending, but it is inevitable that my parents will want to take us out for dinner. I suppose I shouldn't still be bitter, but as I get older, I find myself with more malevolent and spiteful feelings towards them. I just want to have a good time for my birthday, a day which I traditionally spend at work with as little hurrah as possible. I suppose that sounds snobbish too, but I feel like I should get one day for myself.




I have to keep trying, but I am stuck in a cycle of sleeplessness which is causing depression. I have to keep trying. I have to keep pushing.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Feeling

I felt something yesterday. It was somewhat of a revelation. A feeling that I did not know I could feel. A feeling that I had not felt in many years. It was more shocking and surprising than pleasant. I guess I had forgotten what it was like to feel such things.

The immediate question that came to mind was "What do I do about this?". The obvious answer is nothing. I will soon be 29 and cannot imagine why I would ever want to feel anything like that again. The past few years have drained those feelings out of me, and I'd rather live without them peaking their heads out for me. But in light of the things that have been happening to me the past few months, I began to wonder if letting those things grow would be a good thing again.

Fortunately, I spent some time with friends after work and let myself wander away from those thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, I have an entire day off today to dwell (or not to dwell, that is the question) on them. Regardless of how I proceed, I feel as though this is going to be one of those crazy winter seasons, just like every one previous.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Anberlin

Last week was one of the most anticipated weeks of the year for me. Several months ago, Anberlin announced that their (at the time) soon-to-be-released album "Lowborn" would be their last disc, and that they would embark on a final tour later this year. I was shocked and saddened, especially since their most recent release at the time, "Vital" was an amazing and explosive comeback after what I felt was a slightly lacking 2010 disc in "Dark is The Way, Light is a Place". Anberlin has been a staple in my life ever since I downloaded "Blueprints for the Black Market" album in 2002 and fell in love with the song "Foreign Language". It saddened me to think that one of my all-time favorite bands was going to call it quits, especially after only kicking around for 12 years.

I suppose it's better than flaming out and struggling to make things right at the end of your tenure as a band. AC\DC and The Rolling Stones have been performing for 50+ years and still sell out major venues, while iconic bands like Nirvana, The Clash and The Beatles barely made it 10 years together (if not less). I told myself (at the time) that I should be grateful for the 12 great years I got from Anberlin, and the amazing discs they released. For my money, "Never Take Friendship Personal" will always be one of my all-time favorites, and it's follow-up "Cities" was just as incredible. But enough about the past and the retrospect. Let's talk about what happened on what I must call "Anberlin Weekend".

Immediately when I saw that Columbus was on the list of cities that got a final taste of Anberlin, I texted my dear friend Tessa (in Alabama) and told her she was coming to that show if she could get the time off. Except for Atlanta, we were practically the closest show to her and I insisted on getting her a ticket to get her to come. We eventually coaxed her sister Janna (also a close friend) to come, and then it was time to wait. The months passed and suddenly it was November. I took a few vacation days to cover their time up here and spent Saturday and Sunday going over the seven albums that had shaped my life over the past twelve years. And suddenly.... they were here.



 I had been to Alabama a few years prior to this to see them and Janna had came up here on part of a Thanksgiving road trip she was on, but it was different to have both of them. We went to World of Beer to hang out with Joel on Sunday, and decided to go to Blacklick and out for lunch on Saturday before meeting up with Kelly before the show. Note her pre-show excitement...


We showed up early to get a good spot in line, and it ended up being a very good decision when we looked at what was behind us just before being entered. The people in front of us in the line ended up being really cool people, and I chatted with them a little inside the show as well. As for the Newport, it was as wonderful as ever, and for this particular show it was Anberlin only. That meant a longer set-list, and in looking at previous shows we had a fairly good idea what songs we were going to hear. And after another hour-plus of waiting and being squished into the pit area, it was time.


I had already seen Anberlin at the Newport a few years back, and they were solid that night as well. Interestingly, it was 2 years and 1 day prior to the date of the final show (11/10/2014). But this time, for one final time, I got 24 (!!!) songs. They started with Never Take Friendship Personal and kicked on to We Owe This To Ourselves and Paperthin Hymn. It was kicking hard and we got jolted around the crowd, being only 5 rows back at the start of the show. From there they played Self-Starter, Readyfuels (the only "Blueprints" era song), We Are Destroyer (the only from "Lowborn"), Someone Anyone, and Other Side. They mellowed down with Symphony of Blasé, Take Me As You Found Me, Unwinding Cable Car, and Inevitable. Then they announced they were going to play a song that they rarely played, but that they were going to play because it was a longer set. I thought it might be Dance Dance, but it ended up being The Haunting, from their b-side disc "Lost Songs". It was a song that I initially would skip over when listening to them, but after hearing it live I found a new love for it.  Christian announced that it was the last time they'd be playing it live.



After that, they rocked out Impossible, Breaking and A Day Late. I was actually surprised at how many songs from NTFP they ended up playing, but I wasn't complaining. Up next was A Whisper and A Clamor and Dismantle.Repair, which when I saw them in 2012 was the first encore song that Stephen was to perform alone with his keyboard. The keyboard ended up not playing, so he walked out into the crowd and sang a cappella. Well, this time it was full instrumentation and it was equally solid. They finished off with The Resistance, Godspeed (with Debut intro) and The Feel Good Drag. We knew from the previous set-lists that the final song would probably be (*Fin), but as they came out for the encore, the opening music was actually the opening 30 seconds of Harbinger. But after those 30 seconds passed, it was right into (*Fin), which was then subsequently stuck in my head non-stop for several days. It was beautiful and amazing, and after the "Patron Saints" part, they started singing the final line of Harbinger, "We'll live forever, forever, forever".



Needless to say, it was a PHENOMENAL show. Well worth the hype and the years of memories leading up to it.  And even though I was accidentally punched in the face (knocking my glasses off) and bashed around by the pit that formed in my immediate standing area, I have to say that it was one of the greatest shows I have attended. As for Tuesday, the four of us went to Jolly Pirate for breakfast and spent the day at Easton, visiting many stores before finishing the day with dinner at BD's and Star Trek back at my house. Wednesday was the day of departure for the girls, so we went and got coffee in the Short North and visited a fair trade store before sending them on their way. I was sad to see them go, but my life was greatly enriched by their visit. The unfortunate thing is that there simply cannot be a bigger occasion to lure them back to Ohio with! Hahaha...


From left - Tessa, myself, Janna.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Written in the stars

As a man with a million thoughts constantly reverberating in my mind, I usually find myself writing pieces of blogs when I am going through my daily paces. When I was younger it would often be songs, but these days it's just little bits of fluff that I want to excise from my mind. Unfortunately, I am rarely in a position where I can write these things out, so they stay bottled up or get pushed away into an unknown depth, only to be raised days later. Well, today is one of those days. Except that I've spent so many days brewing on my thoughts that I'm not sure if they're in a spot where they need to be blasted out into cyberspace.

Conundrum, thy name is Jester.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

E is for alonE

sometimes, the only way i know to fight loneliness is to embrace it and accept the inevitable.

but is it inevitable? or do i simply enjoy the pain?

or, am i just always alone?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I feel like I don't have enough time left in my life to worry. I don't know how much time I have left, but I'd like to be able to control that emotional response.