San Francisco Vacation Musings

added July 4, 2014: I noticed that this never got published. I’m not sure why not, but my first guess is that I was still working on it a bit at a time. Well, even without the wreck, I wouldn’t be able to remember the emotional details that I was shooting for. So, I’m just going to come up with an approximate date and go ahead and publish it. –Jeff

–original content is below–

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about my recent awesome vacation to San Francisco. I realized that if I concentrated on what I did, it would sound like an elementary school report. Instead, I’m going to give a shot at talking about how I felt about some of the things I did and saw. If nothing else, it will be more original. 🙂

Continue reading San Francisco Vacation Musings

another random questions meme

Must Do/Share
Sunday 4:55 PM (PDT! pppbbbbt!)
Rule #1:
If you open this you take it.
Rule #2:
You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone messages you and asks.
Rule #3:
Tag 15 people, including the person you got this from.

Answer True or False
Q: Kissed someone on your friends list? True
Q: Been arrested? False
Q: Held a snake? True
Q: Been suspended from school? False
Q: Sang karaoke? False
Q: Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t do? True
Q: Laughed until you started crying? True
Q: Caught a snowflake on your tongue? True
Q: Kissed in the rain? False
Q: Sang in the shower? True
Q: Sat on a roof top? True
Q: Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? False
Q: Broken a bone? True
Q: Shaved your head? True
Q: Played a prank on someone? True
Q: Shot a gun? True
Q: Donated Blood? False

1. You hung out with? Amy
2. You texted? Catherine
3. You were in a car with? Amy
4. Went to the movies with? Amy
5. Person you went to shop with? Amy
6. You talked on the phone? Amy
7. Made you laugh? Amy
8. You hugged? Amy

1. Sang? Yes
2. Listened to music? Yes
3. Danced Crazy? No
4. Cried? No

25 (actually 17) FIRSTS …..
1. Who was your first prom (or homecoming) date? N/A
2. Who was your first roommate? John Newton
3. What alcoholic beverage did you drink when you got drunk the first time? strawberry daiquiri
4. What was your first job? deli cook
5. What was your first car? Driven? 1974 Ford Courier. Owned? 1976 Volkswagen Beetle
6. When did you go to your first funeral and viewing? can’t remember
7. Who was your first grade teacher? Cathy Morrow
8. Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane? Grand Cayman Island
10. When you snuck out of your house for the first time? I never did.
11. Who was your first best friend? first one I remember is a guy named Stephen
12. Who was your first Best Friend in high school? John Hancock
13. Where was your first sleepover? can’t remember
14. Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day? Amy
15. Who’s wedding were you in the first time you were a Bridesmaid or groomsman? Rick & Jess
16. What is the first thing you did when you got up this morning? put on clothes
24. First time you tied your shoe laces? kindergarten
25. Are you Facebook friends with your first crush? no

Humor feeding itself

A section of an IM conversation with a college friend tonight:

Me: So, Amy’s going to end up in Detroit teaching some folks about Drupal.
Tony: Cool. Are they providing a flak jacket?
Me: Quite possibly. We also figure she needs to take an extra $50 with her so that she can buy a house and a few acres of land.
Tony: Heck. With $50 she could buy half of GM.
Me: …and all of Chrysler.
Tony: *LOL*

Tony was my roommate for a year. We lived in a ghetto-like apartment, him this big black guy, and me the scrawny little white boy. I used to joke occasionally that I was his bodyguard.

Anyway, Tony is the king of the snappy comeback. Keeping up with him for a few lines tonight was an accomplishment. 🙂


A Butt That Won’t Sit Still

My favorite singer-songwriter, the “chick with a piano” that I come back to again and again, Vienna Teng, has a new album. It’s called Inland Territory, and I already adore it.

I’ve been waiting and worrying about this one for a long time. I love her first two albums. Over a period of years, I kept finding little parallels between my life and her songs. Maybe a better way of putting it is that I kept finding ways to map her music onto my life. I think I’ve heard it said before that people finding their own meaning in art is something that artists strive for. That almost never happens with me. I’m much too literal. I either can’t get past what I know or assume to be the artist’s literal meaning, or the poetry/imagery/etc. is abstract enough that I can’t make head or tail of it. Many of Vienna Teng’s songs fall somewhere in between for me. I mentioned my found meaning behind her song “Harbor” in another post here. I actually got to speak with her very briefly at a concert in Birmingham. During the show, she had described the song very differently than my interpretation, and I ended up telling her about mine. When she autographed my copy of Warm Strangers, she signed it, “Hi Jeff – the real ‘Harbor’ :)” (complete with smiley face).

Naturally I was excited about her third album, Dreaming Through the Noise, but I just didn’t feel the connection with it that I felt with the first two. It’s full of music that I objectively know to be beautiful, but it just didn’t grab me. I actually did map one of the songs onto some times from my past, but most of the songs just kinda went over my head (especially musically). I felt she had quite appropriately moved on, but I hadn’t kept up.

So, I was anxious when my pre-ordered copy of Inland Territory arrived. I needn’t have been. I’ll say right now that I haven’t quite digested the lyrics fully enough to know whether there is any personal meaning to be extracted (that takes a while), but I at least understand where the music is coming from. Better than that, she has totally hooked me musically with several of the songs. I won’t talk about them all right now, but my runaway favorite so far is named “Stray Italian Greyhound,” and now we finally get to the reason behind this post’s title.

The song has a groove. Teng always had a knack for using syncopation, and the “bridge” (or maybe “break”) sections in this song are full of it. The lyric she sings during that section condenses to “What do I do with a love that won’t sit still?” I love that lyric anyway (especially in the context of the song’s full meaning), but I almost can’t help myself from grooving to the syncopation. Thus, my mind ended up morphing the line into, “What do I do with a butt that won’t sit still?” :D

That and many other moments in the album just put a smile on my face. Either I caught up with her on this album, or she slowed down and let me catch up. I’m not sure which, but either way I love it. I’d hug her for it if I could. :)

Time, Belief, and Assumptions

In recent months, I’ve had a number of old friends, high school classmates, etc. find me on Facebook. If anything, the trend seems to be accelerating. It’s pretty cool chatting with people I haven’t talked to much (or at all) in about 15 years. Some of the people most supportive of my attempt at weight loss have been high school classmates. I’ve gotten some of the most flattering and encouraging comments about my writing here on my web log from old friends who knew me then.

I have to admit, though, that I’ve been a bit anxious as well. A lot of time has passed since then. There are things that I believed very strongly as a teenager that I have very different thoughts about now. The things I find important in my life now are not all the same things I thought were important then. To be honest, I’ve come to think differently about a lot of things over the last 5 years, forget the last 15.

A lot of these things that have changed in my life are not things that I typically talk about in casual conversation. I don’t define myself by these changes, and so they’re not the kinds of things that just “come up.” I see no need to change that. However, I realize that it’s quite easy to form impressions around assumptions. The assumptions I’m most concerned about old friends making are actually quite reasonable ones. I don’t feel the least bit upset or offended about people making those assumptions, but I also don’t wish for people to feel like they’ve been misled in some way.

In short, if you haven’t had a recent conversation with me about my beliefs and priorities, it’s very likely that you’re going to be surprised if the subject comes up. This isn’t just for my high school friends. As I said, a lot of things have slotted in place for me in just the last few years.

I’ve thought for quite a while about how I wanted to say this. As late as last night, I was thinking seriously about trying to lay out in detail many of the changes I’m hinting at here. Today I realized, though, that I’m talking about things that are not for public consumption. I firmly believe it’s impossible to understand where I am now without knowing a lot about how I got here. That involves talking about a lot of internal struggle and self-learning and years of slowly becoming more comfortable with who I am. I don’t have any problem sharing that with people who care about me, but it’s none of the general public’s business.

I’m putting all of this out here because from time to time I feel strongly enough about something that I want to write about it. It’s inevitable that some of these changes I’m talking about will be evident in that writing. From time to time, my reaction to something I’m sent might be quite surprising. So, please don’t make assumptions. I am always open (as time allows) to honest, open-minded questions and curiosity from friends, one-on-one. Just please be prepared for my answers to be nothing like you expect.