"The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" - Brand New
I was going to two different high schools my junior and senior years. High school, or any of the years I spent in school for that matter, were never really my thing. Especially in a public school in rural Oklahoma. History books were missing entire pages and teachers put in their personal beliefs into everything, and not just limited to science.
I rode a bus, well it was actually a Suburban, to Broken Arrow from Skiatook everyday my junior year during my lunch break. No iPod yet, they hadn’t been invented, so lots of time spent staring out the window watching the fields south of Skiatook turn into the overpasses of North Tulsa. I was studying advanced web design and programming my senior year, long after I ditched the school bus and armed with a handy CD player and, sometimes, a video camera in the truck I would drive to school with a mix of whatever it was I was listening to in high school (read: MxPx).
Later, there was an MxPx, Brand New, Vendetta Red and Dashboard Confessional show in Dallas that my girlfriend, my best friend and his future ex-wife wanted to attend. Even later so, I remember playing this album over and over while touring through North Texas with my four best friends, our label manager and our singers Dad.
I guess what’s interesting is that even though I chose this song to write about a girl that I had given my heart to, only for neither of us to fully understand what any of it meant; learning how each other’s bodies work, and how to have a relationship, even though I look back now and wish that none of it had ever happened. But, even though I started this with the intention of writing about her, I came to realize that I think my “first love” were the times I shared with those four guys and the music we made together and the times when it was well into the next morning, exhausted and sweaty from playing a show in front of, maybe, 15 people, but playing as if we were back home in front of god knows how many people would show up and sing along with us, and then just sitting in the van, singing our hearts out to this song. And every other song.
I was sitting on a bed in my ex-girlfriend’s apartment in Arizona. She was pregnant and it was the 4th of July. I had spent the previous night in a rainy tent in the Santa Fe National Forest, a short hike up from my car. I was printing out postcards after I had a shower for the first time in what seemed like weeks; long overdue and ready for the night’s fireworks at her family’s house high up a hill overlooking the whole city.
I hadn’t seen her in a few years previous to that and it was nice to meet her new boyfriend and not talk about old times, but just realize that two people grow apart and maybe it’s for the best in the end. We had pizza and I stole a few cigarettes and I think a beer or two. I had met her Dad for the first time that night. I don’t think that anyone there knew we dated, and it was fine that way.
Anyways, another friend posted this song on her blog around this same time, and that morning while I had internet, I downloaded the whole album and it quickly went into steady rotation while I prepared to finish Route 66 and start the Pacific Coast Highway. Every time I hear these tracks I think of parking my car and walking into the ocean after spending almost a month driving from New York to California, that or waking up with the water reaching and retreating over the rocks on Vancouver Island.
It’s a real pain in the ass to want to download, then give you $200 for this software with the run around of signing up for your “newsletter,” waiting for the email, only to find out I then have to confirm my subscription, and then wait for another email, to download the software.
This is why people pirate things, because companies make it so fucking difficult to obtain what they’ve made for us.
”—I’m trying out some new compositing software on the green screen at work. Such a pain in the ass.
Grey Plymouth Relient K trudging up Pike’s Peak, carrying my two sisters, my Dad and my Mom. Red, vinyl seats; hot, dusty drive. I got my first guitar on that trip. It was blue and I immediately lost the pick into the plastic trim piece of the back seat that held the rewinding mechanism of my dad’s seat belt.
Eudaemonia refers to a state of well-being and full functioning that derives from a sense of living in accordance with one’s deeply held values - in other words, from a sense of authenticity. Some characteristics of the eudaemonic life include:
Being open to experience without censorship or distortion
Living fully in the moment, so the self feels full rather than static
Trusting inner experience to guide behaviour
Feeling free to respond rather than automatically react to life events
Taking a creative approach to living, rather than relying on routine and habit
“Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms – up to a billion for each us, it has been suggested – probably once belonged to Shakespeare.”—Bill Bryson (via jstn)
I can’t remember the last time I wrote something on here or where I was or what was going on, and since its nearly a guarantee that a lot has gone on, I’ll do a quick summary of all that I can think of from the last month.
Maggie, my car, got sick a few days out of New York, setting me back about a week. I spent the time really well with two of the best people in my life and in hindsight, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. During the week that I was without my car — the dealer I took her to to get fixed gave me a few loaner cars — my Dad had a heartattack which further compounded my feelings of helplessness and thinking that the whole trip would soon have to come to an abrupt and utterly disappointing early close. within a few days, however, everything slowly began to right itself — with the help of many, many people — and I was off again to make my first highway.
I had a few day trips into Canada and got a few first glimpses of what it was going to be like crossing the border solo and with a lot of stuff. Not a problem at all and soon I was walking around Mont Royal and watching sunrises below the CN Tower. Otherwise called: perfect distractions to my car problems and my dad’s health.
The setbacks had me feeling as if I would never make it to even my first of three highways and it was hard to stay positive, but when I drove into Chicago from the south and saw that gorgeous skyline at dusk, I knew that even though I was severely short on funds and energy that everything was going to be ok.
I spent a few days in Chicago riding bikes, watching bands, drinking beers and wading in a lagoon, but I knew I was only there for a short time so early one morning I got back in Maggie and, for all intents and purposes, finally pointed her South West and began driving Historic Route 66. Illinois didn’t offer me much in RT66 culture or photographic opportunity, but it was nice to finally feel like I was going in the right direction and making some progress. I drove all of Illinois that day and made it into St Louis just in time for a pizza party and a lot of laughs. And, naturally, it wouldn’t have been a great party if I didn’t wake up till noon the next day, so that’s what I did. Ha!
The late wake up call meant that I had little time to make it from St Louis to Tulsa so I had to be frugal and choose my points wisely. Do I do the historic route and find a place to stay if it gets dark or do I just plow down the interstate so that I can get to Tulsa, and my family, and just abandon the state of Missouri. Well, getting out of St Louis proved to be difficult with a lot of circles and U-turns and all of that so I figured I might as well just do it. I’m not out here to make good time, I’m out here for a good time. So I stayed on the backroads till dark, which happened to be Springfield, and then hopped on familiar I-44 and put it down and got to my parents.
Knowing that Springfield is so close and also that there’s a lot of great 66 between there and Tulsa, I took a day trip back up on I-44 with my niece and nephew and we found our way into Fantastic Caverns. After the great cave tour we hit the backroads back to Tulsa and drove some of the coolest sections of 66 I had gotten to drive yet. The 13 miles through Kansas and spending time with them was worth the whole day.
Finally in Oklahoma with my family I spent a lot of time doing secretarial work: getting the postcards out that had been delayed because of wrong products being shipped so many times; getting prints from my lab to fill Etsy orders and then waiting way too long to get my shipping boxes delivered from New York; getting Maggie ready for hot and arid climates; and also spending great time with my family and some friends I haven’t seen in a few years and even some new friends. It was a great week and a half going back and forth between Tulsa, my parents and Oklahoma City and it was amazingly relaxing and a good rest before the solo camping section of the trip.
I guess that brings us to the now? I’m sitting in the bottom of a canyon in the panhandle of Texas after driving six hours of FANTASTIC original 1930’s portland concrete through the gentle hills of Western Oklahoma and then the eerily flat and endless horizon of the panhandle of Texas. I leave here tomorrow morning, New Mexico bound, and also full of opportunity and possibilities. Its 4th of July weekend and that means I’m going to have to get creative as to where I’m going to sleep for the weekend, but I’m sure its going to work out great. Everything else has.
I kept a dent in the hood of my car to remind me of the night I first clearly saw the Milky Way in the Mojave desert near Amboy, CA. I didn’t ever want to get off the roof; just wanted to lay and watch the universe breathe.
This is borderline Pinkerton for me. Replace Jasmine with any cute girl who gives me the time of day.
You tantalize, I fantasize And in your eyes is the world When all else fades into nothing I’m the proof you’re beautiful When you’re aloof I get dumb And I can’t think about nothing else And nothing ever changes
I just finished spending the entire day listening to The White Stripes, arguably one of my favorite bands. Reading articles and interviews, watching documentaries and more, just trying to get more into the stories behind the songs, and this song kept coming up as Jack White’s favorite song. Son House is definitely a force to be reckoned with, but I always listen to the Library of Congress sessions, as opposed to Father of the Delta Blues.
I embarked on my first cross-country drive back in 2005, and stopped off in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There was an exhibit called “The Birth of Rock and Roll” or something and it started out with a short 15-30 minute documentary movie about hobo’s, migrant farmers, depression victims and other people from the 20’s and 30’s. I was constantly trying to write down as many names as I could while they would just briefly touch on all their contributions to the lexicon that is American Folk.
After you left the screening, you were dumped into a large room full of listening booths. Everything from slave chants to Jimmie Rodgers to Bob Dylan to Son House, et. al., was presented to you personally in headphones. I was enchanted. I had been spending the last year or so trying to trace the routes of the music I enjoyed and had only gotten back as far as the 50’s and 60’s and now I had found another thread to pull.
And then you get into those slave chants, and hear the pain and the heat and the sweat of the fields. Or you hear the empty pockets and the dirt in the teeth of that kid just trying to find his next meal, and singing about it. It’s so beautiful.
Anyway. I hope you take the time to find out why the bands you like play music, and hopefully it’s not because they want to be rich and famous, but maybe it’s because they want to create and share something with the world.