Archive for May, 2011

I couldn’t sleep tonight so on impulse I found myself reading through, well, it’s not a diary but it’s something I used to write in on occasion. Out of nowhere I came across this thing that I wrote back on April 2nd, 2010.

I have no memory of writing this, none whatsoever. It doesn’t even sound like me and if it weren’t for the handwriting I don’t think I’d believe that I actually did write it. Still, the coincidence was just to fun to ignore so here it is.

For those days when you place each egg carefully in a basket
and watch the sky come crumbling down.
When you look around at the smiling faces surrounding you
friends, family, all those that love you
yet you still feel alone.
When you don’t have time to breathe
you’re resume is empty and your only experience
is the time you spent swimming with sharks in your own soul.
When you feel lost in your own footsteps,
lost on the very ground you tread
on the schedule of every day.
You smile, but inside you mop the buckets that have spilled
even though you didn’t have the strength to cry.
The ticking clocks spend the pocket change of life
as you stare at the ceiling, screaming at your eyelids to fall,
to remove you from this place,
the dreamless ‘scape where there are no answers.
When you’re lost in the sheets,
fighting to destroy the memory of an embrace you never knew you craved
and the women on the movies and the magazines and the tv shows
are all you have to love and all you have to say goodnight to
but are gone with the moon when morning comes.

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Recently I have relocated myself to Salt Lake City to pursue my dreams. More or less. Aside from the obvious increase in commercial entities compared to Logan there is a noticeable difference in my cultural saturation that I had nearly forgotten about.

The radio.

I had pretty much given up on the radio, mostly due to the fact that it has evolved into the music industry’s B*** and even “alternative” stations seem to overplay the same Top 40 garbage that MTV is trying to shove down myself. Also, you just plain can’t get anything in Logan.

That said, I have loved, do love, and will always love X96.

Granted, my musical tastes have matured slightly over the years and I’ve grown slightly too old for the X but it is still the best radio station in Utah. I’m sidetracked, back to the point.

Since I can actually get it and since I’ve been driving predominately short distances lately I haven’t bothered dealing with my tempermental iPod and have elected instead to kick it old school on the airwaves. It’s been fun, I’ve been able to catch Radio From Hell on my way to work in the mornings and a healthy sampling of today’s alternative rock springled in with classics like Jimmy Eat World and Switchfoot as well as crappy X96 staples like Nirvana.

I didn’t expect to fall in love, hence my surprise in being introduced to a little band called Mumford and Sons.

I thought to myself “Self, I can’t be discovering a good band via RADIO. Surely my hipster friends and/or pandora would’ve alerted me to their existence already. They must suck and this is merely a fluke decent tune.”

But then I heard another song, and another. Each with an ambrosia blend of folk instrumentation and rock style lyricism.

Apparently there is still some good stuff on the radio. Color me dumbfounded. Check them out for yourself. The videos aren’t perfect, but the songs are pretty slick.

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For about a month now I’ve been telling myself “You gotta blog about graduating.” Time kept going by until finally I realized today, what is there to even say?

So, here’s what’s up. Last month I graduated, cum laude, from Utah State University. I received a B.A. in Print Journalism with minors in Portuguese, Political Science and (last and yes, least) Business.

So, stuff that in you pipe and smoke it.

(Most of) The original gang, with a couple of additions.

The picture of me, taking of picture of Dave and Mer (woah, Meta) that ran in the SLTrib.

I would have more pictures, buy my mother doesn’t know how to use facebook.

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On friday night, the day before commencement, my friends and I gathered under the glow of Old Main and made sweet music together. My last act as an undergrad, and a bucket list item.

9. Jam in the amphitheater

Then I graduated (more on that later) and with that my senior year, and tenure at USU, was over. By that point I had already gone through the steps and had reached acceptance, some of the hard moments though:

  • turning in the keys to The Statesman
  • removing all of my possessions from the office
  • moving out everything in my apartment and living on an air mattress for a week
  • playing my piano for the last time

There was actually a moment when I was in my room, bare walls and empty, laying down on my queen-sized air mattress and watching the farewell Michael Scott episode of the office. There were just too many parallels and I cried a little bit.

Moving on, here’s how I did on my goals.

1. Sleep on the Quad or Old Main Hill

2. (removed by the hands of fate)
3. Become a true Aggie one more time
4. Clean the sink (again)
5. Sleep in my office
6. Get on the roof of one of the buildings on campus, preferably Old Main
7. Go into the O.C. Tanner Lounge (DONE!)
8. Perform at PoBev
9. Jam in the amphitheater
10. Ride the LTD to Preston
11. Eat at LD’s
12. Eat at the Coppermill
13. Get into the police blotter
14. Become an ULTIMATE Aggie
15. Go through the tunnels
16. Go into one of the Sorority houses
17. Kiss a girl who smokes (I could live without completing this one)
18. Get a picture with Big Blue
19. Fall in love
20. Pull an all-nighter (haven’t done one since high school)
21. Toilet paper someone’s apartment
22. Go to Old Ephraim’s grave (this is going to be hard to do before I graduate)
23. Hike the Wellsvilles (so close, yet so far away)
24. Eat in the Junction/Marketplace
25. Bike down the Old Main steps
26. Crowd Surf

Not bad. Some of those things I COULD have done but when push came to shove it just didn’t feel write to do them all rushed like a smash and grab job. Others, like riding the LTD to Preston, I just couldn’t do without Dave Willis.

So, with that, I’m an adult. Apparently.

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I’ve been done with finals since Monday night. Since literally everyone I know was either packing up their belongings or studying for a test I had nowhere to turn to. I went for a jog, I ran some errands, I ate some lunch, watched Hulu. After that I still had an hour or two to kill so I started putting together a sideshow of my tenure at USU.

Picking the photos was easy, I just picked a ton. Picking the song was harder. At first I wanted something that spoke to the Freshman me, a song like “Rainy Monday” by Shiny Toy Guns or “Soul Meets Body” by Death Cab but the rhythm just wasn’t right. Then, I just tried some all-out favorites like “What about Everything” by Carbon Leaf and “Change Your Mind” by The Killers but they had no deeper significance than just being songs I liked and, frankly, ran too short.

Then I stumbled across “How Far We’ve Come” by Matchbox Twenty. Aside from the obvious correlation with the subject matter, the song is also sentimental in that it became the de facto soundtrack of our 2009 Moab Trip when all of us would scream “LET’S” during the chorus.

I made a first version with SoundSlides, a slick little free download but when you export you get dumped with a whole pile of stuff to upload to a web hosting server…yeah, I don’t have one of those. So I tried to duplicate it as much as possible in Windows Movie Maker (I miss my office already). Long story short the end result isn’t smooth, but neither were 4 years at USU (see, there’s just a hidden sub-textual metaphor) :->

So, without further ado, here’s a look at 4 years at USU. Starting with my freshman year in the dorms, completely skipping my 2-year sabbatical (nothing to see there) and skimming through my post-mish years and the rapidly evolving face of my friend circle (pay special attention to the weddings, you see 3 couples meet, court, and wed, during this presentation).

How far we’ve come indeed.

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That’s me, in August of 2008, playing my piano for the first time. My sister Katie moved into a house that was 1 part structure and 2 parts garbage. In the midst of the wasteland was this beauty. An old, beat up, upright Packard with a couple of dead keys.

I remember going to her house for a hair cut and seeing it out in the garage. I ran my fingers along the keys and was surprised to hear a pretty solid, reasonably in-tune sound. She was going to trash it, I was a broke college student with no qualms about appearance, and an arrangement was formed.

It’s first home with me was the cold, unfinished basement of the bunker. When we signed the lease for the house we had lofty goals for that basement. We got the piano down there (down about 15 steps with a break into the basement, killer) set up a drum set. Scavenged an old beat up billiards table and tied up a hammock. We thought we’d party down there all the time but in the cold long winter of Logan we didn’t end up using it much. For me, it was the piano room. I would sit on an overturned white 5-gallon bucket and go freaking crazy. The guys upstairs had to deal with it, but I figured we were buffered enough from the neighbors.

Somehow, we managed to get it out of that basement. Part of me figured I’d just leave it down there for whoever rented the house after us but my friends and family convinced me that I didn’t want to bid farewell just yet. We made our way over to Brooklane in May of 2009 where we set the piano up in the main living area. I tried to put it as far away from bedrooms as possible but I have no doubt that there were plenty of times when my neighbors (to both sides and directly above) wished I would just die. I tried to be considerate. I wouldn’t play before 11:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m. Still, I broke those rules and at least once my upstairs neighbor started pounding on the floor.

Two year’s went by and 9 roommates. Each rotation chipped away at my original group until the piano and I were the lone survivors in BL4. I remember when this school year started feeling like a stranger in my own apartment. Partly due to the Statesman and partly not I spent less and less time at home, but as always after a long day, bad day, good day, day, I would come in and spend an hour on the keys.

That’s me, on April 30 2011, playing my piano for the last time. We loaded it into the truck, I played Keane’s “Somewhere only we Know” and then we headed up to Kellyn’s apartment to drop it off at its new home. I feel good about giving it to Kellyn and Brad. She’s my features editor (yes, I’m speaking in present tense because MY staff will never die ;->) and because she’s married, the piano will have a good male presence in the home.

It was time for us to go our separate ways. I’ll get a real job, and a real piano. As it for it, I feel good knowing that it’ll stay in the hands of broke college students.

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Radio Show #2

Jordan Allred invited me back onto the show for a nostalgic look back on the year. I ramble a little bit, but hey, I’m in a daze. I’m on the scene when the video starts, check it out.

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