Where do they go?
The daily pieces that make up a life.
Do they leave us all at the end
Or do we toss some out throughout our stay - chucking bits of existence like balled-up paper into a bin.
When we see it all flash, do we see the mundane as well?
Not just a tour of past lovers, but a gala of all the floors we’ve swept?
All our graduations, but also every morning test?
How can we accumulate for decades and then in an instant unload every last bit?
I can comprehend death in the moment,
but not in the aggregate.
I’m going to try and take time to write about good things that have happened to me on this blog. I’ve been too locked on the negative lately so I am going to force myself to reflect on the positive.
Today is Easter, so I’ll start by talking about Easter memories.
The strongest memories I have of Easter growing up involve egg fights. Egg fights were a tradition in my family where after all the eggs had been collected from the “hunt” everyone would choose one and then you and a family member would hold that egg in your hand and whack them together. If yours cracked, you lost, if yours cracked the other, you were the champion. Apparently, one egg gives way before the other, so there is rarely a time when both are smashed. Technique seemed to involve holding the eggs as close to the end (without it slipping out from your grasp) when engaging in the collision. Whether or not this was science or superstition both it and the discussion of which side of the egg was better to defend and attack with provided countless hours of debate.
My father, rascal that he is, would freeze an egg each year and use it to squash the competition. As we got older we began to sniff out the frozen egg trick and my dad had to resort to sneakier tactics to try and use a frozen one without our knowing. He would use the downstairs freezer or the freezer at our grandmother’s house when we spent the holiday there. We always accused him of cheating whenever he won a match, regardless of whether he actually was, to which he would always laugh and claim that he “had never cheated in his life” which we all knew was an obvious lie. Although I think I knew it then too I can see clearly now that these accusations were what he enjoyed the most about the game.
Eventually all the smashed eggs would make there way to the kitchen, where they would be peeled and prepared for deviled eggs. I was always grossed out by the eggs that had coloring seep into the egg-white, giving a bluish-moldy appearance. The deviled eggs would make a late appearance amongst the spread of all the other food: ham, roast, and other dishes that extended family would bring to my grandmother’s house back when extended family of mine still met up for holidays.
Today I celebrated Easter with my two nephews. Still too young to be trusted with violent egg games, they spent the day eating candy, playing with toys from the Easter basket, and running around throwing various tantrums. I wonder how many years it will take before they will be introduced into the sport, and I wonder I will be the knavish uncle who sneaks a frozen egg into battle.
My friend Jaime died today. I wrote a post about her a couple days ago, but I just noticed a large chunk of it was missing, so I deleted the whole thing.
To sum up: she was a great person with an old soul. She experienced a lot of pain by the time we started dating - she was 26, I was 22 - and I was basically a teenager. I was another dumb boy in her life who wasn’t going to commit to a relationship with her. She kept me around anyway, for some reason, and was nice and kind to me in many ways. We broke off contact when I started dating Emilie, but through facebook I followed her life. I was so happy to hear she was getting married a few years ago, and elated when she was pregnant because I knew it was something she really wanted.
We never had romantic love, but I learned a lot about women from the time I spent with her. I would not have eventually been a good boyfriend without the experiences I had with her, and although I was far, far from a perfect boyfriend, I wouldn’t have been a train wreck without things I learned dating her.
We caught up about once a year. She always had good advice for me and I was always happy to talk to her. On Dec 1st she told me she had cancer, and that the prognosis was grim. We talked for about an hour. She had planned to hold a get-together with friends before the end, but there wasn’t enough time.
I wish I could have called or seen her one more time, to tell her I was proud of her. I wished her good luck before her first chemotherapy treatment. That was the last I saw her online. Her husband kept all her friends aware of her status. Last week he notified everyone it was time to say goodbye and today she died.
I’ll miss her. I will keep her daughter and husband in my thoughts for a long time. She deserved more time, but she made the most of what I had. She was a brave woman.
I hope you’re peaceful wherever you are pal. Thanks for being a friend.
“Emancipation All Across the Nation!” From Lincoln
Music and Lyrics by DJ Lance Rock
“Dark n’ Dirrtty” From Zero Dark Thirty
Music and lyrics by Flo Rida
“Drink Up, These Things Practically Fly Themselves” From Flight
Music by Andrew W.K, Lyrics by Scott Weiland
“End Credits Theme (Thank God)” From Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2
Music and Lyrics by The Civil Wars
I wish Windows Phone 8 commercials were more like this (minus the crappy production) instead of endoresments from boring celebrities pretending they only own one phone.
Also, I spent several hours on this. what is wrong with me.
Why Fiona Apple’s “Werewolf” is the best song of the year:
2012 was year that saw the indie folk reach what will surely be its mainstream pinnacle as the success of Mumford and Sons paved the way for bands like Of Monsters and Men and The Lumineers to permeate radio waves all summer long. Indie folk has been a genre strongly associated with earnest sentiment - one only needs a quick listen to the Fleet Foxes magnificent 2011 release “Helplessness Blues” to experience the overflowing sincerity behind the sweet melodies and arrangements that this sound can produce. With extreme commercial success, however, suddenly that indie folk sincerity seems to be slipping away. The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” was transformed into a commercial jingle for Blue Moon beer, Mumford and Sons were playing any and all music award shows, including that one held over at MTV, and the overexposure to Monsters’ “Little Talks” had people who normally don’t veer from the top 40 station screaming out “HEY” whenever there was a pause in conversation.
Commercial success and the changes that go along with are of course inevitable in the music world, but to see a whole subgenre blow up so quickly was surprising and while exposure of a different sound to a wider audience has many merits, there are also plenty of consequences. Whether or not the emotion in these songs was sincere when they were recorded, they are now certified hits and as a result they don’t ring as true or feel as honest as their forbearers like Edward Sharpe’s “Home” or Head in the Heart’s “Lost in my Mind.” Finding authenticty in 2012 therefore had to be located outside the folk world.
Thankfully, 2012 was also the year Fiona Apple, never an artist accused of insincerity (or rushing out and album too fast or titled too curtly), put out her first studio album in seven years. While Fiona’s vocals have always been the highlight of all her work, her new album “The Idler Wheel” stripped away the more lush arrangements of albums past leaving it exposed with mostly just a piano and her signature sultry voice to defend itself. “Werewolf” embodies this minimalist approach perfectly and exemplifies how less can indeed be more when you are singing about at topic as common as a breakup. The song is lyrically built on basic metaphors and similes describing the equal responsibility of two parties involved in a split (he was the werewolf, but she was the full moon) and the sorrow of owning up to such incompatibility. Catchy and powerful in its simplicity, the tune is also awash with sincerity, from that fragile pitch in Apple’s voice that hides whether she is about to belt out another verse or perhaps burst into tears, to the heartbreaking acknowledgment of “We can still support each other/All we have to do’s avoid each other.”
What ultimately defines the song is the sound of children playing in the background that catches you completely off guard when it inexplicably comes into focus two-thirds of the way through. The playful screams of these children add a haunting tinge to the somber melody - reminiscent of the children’s voices in Radiohead’s “15 Step” - but they also serve to represent the full spectrum of human emotion, from the innocent beginnings of adolescent laughter to the pains of adult experience and reflection. When Fiona sings “Nothing wrong when/A song ends/In a minor key” juxtaposed on top of the lighthearted cries of youth we realize that while there may be nothing wrong with a sad ending, it doesn’t make it any less sad, and perhaps the realization that what’s best for us isn’t always what makes us happiest is the ultimate sign of what it means to grow up. This sentiment is in complete contrast with the Lumineers’ powerhouse “I belong with you, you belong with me” lyric of “Ho Hey” that goes down much easier but seems more like fantasy. Both outlooks pack an emotional punch, but the one that feels most genuine this year is the one that isn’t also trying to sell you an orange flavored beer.