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Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
6:35 pm - A short note on what's going on with me
So uh, New Year's Eve was pretty awesome. I went to a formal dress party, and then ended up at a local bar at 1 AM, still dressed up. The bar was open til 3 AM that night, because of some legal technicality, so I was there until closing time, and it stayed insane the whole time. The important part--I ended up talking to this girl I've known casually for a long time. We talked for like an hour, and I decided to ask her for her number. Since we've known each other for a long time, I have no idea if she took this number-asking to be me trying to "hang out" or if she just thought I was being a friend, but whatever--she gave it to me. And for the record, it was the former (I've always thought she was cute). But when she gave it to me, she was all "I don't really ever answer my phone, and I'll check my voicemail, but probably not for a few days. Really, the best way to get an answer from me is to text me."

So--today I texted her to see if she wants to hang out sometime soon. I waffled a bit about whether to text her, or to just call and leave a voicemail, but I decided that if she said texting was the best way to get a response, I'd take that at face value. So I texted her. That was a bit over an hour ago. I haven't heard anything back, but for all I know she's at work or something. We'll see what happens in the next day or two. If I never hear back, I guess I'll call her and leave a voicemail, on the off chance that she never got the text. But if that's the route I end up going, I won't be expecting a response. Hell, I don't really expect a response as it is (my cynicism about this kind of stuff is truly boundless). But I asked a girl for her number, and that's important, because it was the first time in my life I ever did that. So hey, important milestone, or something.

Hope everyone's doing well.

current mood: uhhh

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Tuesday, December 25th, 2007
11:52 pm - Christmas rundown
This is the deal with my trip home to my parents' house, which is ending in less than 12 hours if I have to drag myself out of bed kicking and screaming.

-I bought a CD boombox and batteries with which to power it on my way out of town, for $46 (that includes boombox and batteries). It has been invaluable. Without it I would have had no music in the car or at my parents' house (unless I wanted to listen to my Walkman, which is incredibly cumbersome when I'm not out for a walk or something of that nature). As it is, I've been playing the first Moby Grape album quite a lot, and have discovered that it has several other songs that are at least as good as the opening track, "Hey Grandma". Bands shouldn't make songs that good start their albums--it makes every other song seem a disappointment.

-The night I got here, my brother and I had a two-hour conversation that completely ruined my mood for most of the rest of the trip. I have, between then and now, posted multiple melodramatic Myspace bulletins and message-board posts in which I lamented having ever come here in the first place. I blamed most of this on my parents, but really, about 90% of what upset me came from what my brother said to me during that conversation. For starters, a direct quote: "You're a chore to deal with." He came very close to making a statement along the lines of "no one wants you here, we get along just fine without you." What I believe he actually said was "everyone gets along fine except when you're here. The only time Mom and Dad get mad and fight with anyone, it's with you. When it's just the three of us, we get along great." He further picked on me for my insecurity in social situations, saying something about how it makes me seem like a snob when I don't easily jump into conversations with family members. This led to him saying that if I should be able to feel comfortable around anyone, it should be my family.

-All of this blew my mind so badly that it took me days to realize that the reason I was feeling miserable this time out was NOT because of my mom being bitchy and snapping at me too easily. It's certainly true that she does this, but the only time it really flagrantly occurred was on Sunday, a couple of hours before the 18 relatives we were expecting got here. She was in the process of getting everything ready, which always stresses her out. For her to only pop off at me once, and then in a really stressful situation, is pretty remarkable, relatively speaking. It was my brother that really fucked the whole trip up for me. Basically, I feel like he's gone over to the other side. Let me explain further: I always felt, when we were younger, that our parents put us through a lot of stress, and honestly, behaved like dictatorial authority figures who were able to take out their arbitrary mood swings on us with impunity. I thought he understood how fucked up this had made me, because he'd lived through it too. I honestly think he did when he was younger. But a combination of two different factors--the fact that he has a higher self-esteem than I do and is therefore much better equipped to not give a shit if our parents express disapproval and other negative emotions toward him; and the fact that he never moved out of the house, and is still living with them at the age of not-quite-26--have permanently changed his viewpoint. I think these days my parents treat him as an adult on a daily basis, the kind of treatment I never got from them and pretty much still don't get, and as a result have earned a great deal of his sympathy. So now, he's got an "if I made it through childhood just fine, you should be fine too" attitude towards me, and has not only no understanding but not even an INTEREST in understanding the differences in perspective and motivation between us. He thinks I need to "get over it" and feels that Mom and Dad's inability to even try to understand me or give me an inch in any situation is justified. What's more, he takes basically the same attitude towards me now, and even managed to unselfconsciously bark orders at me multiple times over the course of the weekend. Upshot: I have three parents now, one of which is younger than me. SWEET.

-I was bugging out so bad by day 3 of my trip here (Monday) that I left the house for hours and drove into Warrenton, which is something like 15 miles away. It never fails to blow my mind to see how much this town has changed in the 22 years since I moved away. Of course, towns change a lot in 22 years, so it shouldn't be a surprise, and strictly speaking it's not, not on a rational level. But nonetheless, on a deeper, more emotional level, it feels fucking weird to see huge housing developments on plots of land that I remember being occupied by woods and fields. Old town Warrenton is much the same, however, and I wandered around it for about an hour, taking in everything that I took for granted as a child, being surprised by ways in which my memory failed me, and other ways in which it brought back details I never would have expected to be retained. I realized that I first heard one of my most hated songs ever, "Rosanna", by Toto, while riding shotgun in my mother's car down Ashby St. I can remember that my brother was alive, but still young enough to be in his carseat, which makes me somewhere between 6 and 8 in the memory, but most likely 7. How the hell do I still retain any of that? It's fucking weird.

-Not so weird, in fact quite cool: wandering around Old Town gave me an idea for another novel. Granted, I have one plotted out in a notebook, which I first sketched out a year ago and have done very little with since, but if I have another idea that doesn't mean I should ignore it just because I haven't finished the last one. Hopefully I will write both eventually. They both express different elements of my own desire to write autobiographically but also mix in elements of genre. This one is either crime or horror, I'm not sure. The other one is alternate-universe-style urban fantasy steampunk, or something. I really should write them both eventually, but right now I only know the first few chapters of the new idea. I need to have books plotted out entirely before I really pitch in on writing them. I'm going to be figuring out the rest of this one over the next few days or weeks or whatever, I guess. I'm planning to take a side trip back through Warrenton on my way out of here tomorrow morning, so that I can wander around some more and make notes on a couple different Google maps that I printed out on my dad's computer.

-Christmas morning gift exchange made me feel pretty terrible for all the secret thoughts I've been harboring about my family. The first gift I opened was a trio of photos in an elaborate frame, all three of me at certain points in my life. In one I am with my parents and brother. Maybe if things had gone better I would have been touched by the gift, but as it was I felt simultaneously angry and like a shithead. Angry because my emotions were being manipulated by something that didn't mean nearly as much as all the kind and encouraging words I never got, but like a shithead because I know that on some level, my parents and my brother do care about me and are just crappy at showing it. I want to be able to forgive them, but they make it hard. The jury's still out on this one, but I guess this is a lot of why I still do keep in regular touch with them.

-I also got the "Gonzo" photobook, by the estate of Hunter S. Thompson, from my brother. I'm sure he didn't mean to hurt me like he did on Saturday night, because I know he's not nearly as sensitive to the feelings of people around him as I am (probably why girls love him and I'm still alone). This gift proves that he does pay attention to what I like, and cares enough to try and make me happy with his gifts. Again, I don't think people that giving you things should be able to make up for the ways they treat you badly, but it just shows that he doesn't hate me or anything. And I mean, I don't hate him either. I don't hate my parents either. I just wish that someone in this family was able to express love in a functional manner, rather than being withdrawn like my dad, or casually harsh in ways they don't even realize, like my mom or my brother, or being way too intense and sensitive and scaring everyone away, like me.

-Other things I got for Christmas: an 80 gb Ipod. Holy shit, that's awesome. A deluxe pedometer--reasonably cool. A George Foreman grill. Also awesome. $145 in cash, checks, and gift cards. Can't complain. Lottery scratch tickets. Amusing. I won a dollar. Plenty of socks (of which I probably have too many as it is) and underwear (which I can use).

-I spoke to Sam about creating a website for our label on which we would make all the old CD-R releases that came out in editions of 50 or whatever available for download. He's way into it, and so am I. Now to come up with the money to buy a domain name and webspace. This will be the hard part.

-Actually I talked to Sam a bunch when I was really freaking out about everything with the family. He was really cool about it. And then I talked to Jessica about it on AIM as well. Both of them were very helpful. But despite everything they said and everyone else has said, I still don't think I can handle cutting my family off completely. I'd like to believe that their positive moments excuse all the casual, unthinking damage they do to me every time I'm around them, but that's a lie. I'm really still just trying to gain their approval.

-One more thing: I called this girl that I've been communicating with on the internet on Saturday night. She told me lots of drama stories during the 20 or so minutes we talked. She has a 6 year old kid. She has no job. She's divorced. She's 23. The personalized music that I heard while I waited for her to answer her phone was a Godsmack song. I think I might not want to pursue this one. That said, I will probably at least call her once more, because I am a sap.

current mood: relieved that it's over

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Sunday, December 16th, 2007
2:39 pm
Man, I'm just not in a good mood today. I don't even know if this whole "actually trying to interact with girls on the regular" thing is even worth it.

Am I posting regularly on Livejournal again? Hmm, maybe so. Guess we'll see.

current mood: blahhhh

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1:09 pm - Update to yesterday's post
Here's how the whole thing blew up in my face:

Last night, I went to a show. I had four friends in my car, and we drove past the show on our way to find a parking place. The girl, L, was standing out front of the show smoking a cigarette. I knew at that moment that I was doomed. I pointed her out to my friends in the car, some of whom had heard the story earlier, and much laughter at my expense occurred. It's cool, I would have laughed too.

The show wasn't completely awkward--Ghastly City Sleep were a disappointment, but Antlers were fucking transcendent and I bought a couple of LPs I've been looking for for a while--but I saw the girl at least half a dozen times over the course of the evening, and could never meet her eye. I'm sure that if I'd never sent her the Myspace message I could have gone over and talked to her, but as it was, I felt like she was almost surely NOT interested, and the least I could do was spare her any further awkwardness. I still felt awkward, though--I felt like a character in an Al Burian story. I'm still so new to this whole thing--actually interacting with girls and trying to win them over--and it seems like everything I do ends up being wrong. When I had a girl hit on me at a show a few months ago, I figured I'd see her around, and then I never did. Now, when I don't take the chance that I will see the girl around, I see her immediately. I can't seem to do anything right.

Later in the night, a couple of my friends asked me if I'd talked to her. When I said "Fuck no, are you crazy?" they pointed out that if she HAD been interested in me, it would probably be a good move to do so, and if she was not, at least then I'd know for sure instead of having to take silence as some sort of signal. Which made a ton of sense. So yeah, once again, I blew it.

current mood: ehh

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Saturday, December 15th, 2007
10:39 am - Last night was ridiculous
Dear Livejournal, I have a story to tell you. It's all about my night last night. It might be boring and lame to start out with, but it gets good, or at least funny, later.

I got out of work at 7. Kyle had called me earlier and asked if I wanted to go to his house and watch a movie with him. I was planning to do so, but I stopped to get some food first. While I was getting food, Sara called me and invited me to a party at her house. Apparently it was more her roommates' thing than hers, but she'd decided to invite some of her friends too, so that it wasn't too weird for her. I wasn't planning on doing anything after watching the movie with Kyle, so I told her I'd probably come by, and bring Kyle too if he was up for it.

Then I went to Kyle's. We sat around watching a Bill Hicks live DVD for a while. Eric called me and mentioned that Pyramids were playing at Ramakins in a little while. I mentioned it to Kyle after I got off the phone and he said we should go to the show, but we ended up waiting around for another half-hour before we headed over there. When we finally got there, Pyramids were in the middle of playing. I somehow walked right in without paying, and started watching Pyramids' set. Kyle, though, wanted a burrito, so he headed over to Qdoba to get one. Qdoba is right across the street from Ramakins, but still, by the time he got back, Pyramids only had one song left. They were really good. It's weird, Benn Roe has been doing this band for a while, and every time I see them, he has a different guitarist and drummer than he did before. This lineup was really good, so hopefully they'll stick together for a while.

After they played, I bought their CD, as well as a couple of 7 inches that the guitarist was selling. I got the first Sinker 7 inch and the Candyland Carcrash 7 inch for $5 each. I had to go to the shitty offbrand ATM inside Ramakins to get money, but it was worth it (even though I'm pretty sure I'll get hit with something like $5 in fees). There was one more band left, and it had some people I know in it, but honestly I don't like them too much, so when Eric and Kyle both made to leave, I dipped out with them. The bass player of the band that was about to play saw me leave and called after me. I just kept walking, but I felt bad. Busted. Didn't feel bad enough to go back in and watch them, though.

Instead, I headed over to Sara's. Kyle and Eric didn't want to go--Eric was going to go hang out at the diner where Jojo worked, and wait for her to get out of work (probably eat free food too). I don't even know where Kyle was going. Whatever. I was kind of looking forward to the prospect of hitting up a party full of people I didn't know. I figured I'd take this opportunity to work on my being-outgoing skills.

I got to Sara's house and found her immediately. She was in her kitchen, which seemed to be the focal point of the party. A bunch of people were in there eating bread and cheese and fondue and all sorts of other things. It was more like an adult party than your typical college beer bash, which I guess makes sense since Sara is a grad student these days. One thing I noticed immediately and found to be a pleasant surprise--75% of the people at the party were girls. I'm used to going to parties and shows and etc where there are 4 or 5 boys for every girl, and 90% of the girls are already dating one of the boys anyway. This was a pleasant switch.

Since I only knew Sara out of everyone at the party, and she knew a whole bunch of people there, I was only talking to her part of the time. The rest of the time, I just went ahead and talked to whoever was near me. I did quite well with it, too. Eventually, I ended up sitting in a group with Sara, one of Sara's roommates, a guy who I thought was the roommate's boyfriend but turned out to be her ex, a girl who was friends with the roommate, and one other dude. I was being ridiculous and silly, and ended up teasing the roommate's female friend, who was sitting next to me, a lot (we'll call this friend L, for that is her first initial. The roommate will be called C, and the boy who is not C's ex will be called D, for the same reasons). She was really cute--all the girls at the party were really cute--but that wasn't why I did it. Really, she just had the same kind of brash exuberance going on that I did, so we naturally ended up teasing each other a lot. By the time this had been going on for a while, I was getting subtle signals that L was interested in me. She was focusing most of her attention on me, and leaning towards me and touching my arm and shoulder a lot. This is the kind of stuff that I'm never sure how I'm supposed to read, because on one hand I'm told from a lot of sources that it's female flirting techniques, but then again I have trouble believing any girl is flirting with me, and sometimes that fucks up my ability to read situations. I'm always afraid that I'm getting overconfident and setting myself up for a fall. So yeah, in this situation I really wasn't sure what was going on, but I decided to go with it and see how far I could push things before they did--or did not--fall apart.

Anyway, after a while of hanging out, the small group I was in decided to go to Ipanema for last call. C's ex headed home, D drove separately, and the rest of us got into L's car to ride over there. When we got there, C planted herself at the bar for whatever reason, and the rest of us got a booth, where D and L sat on one side, with Sara and I next to each other on the other side. After a few minutes, Sara whispered something to me about how she'd be really stoked if I could somehow manage to get her and L to switch sides of the booth. I was still trying to flirt with L, so I told her that I was just as into that happening as she was, and that we should join forces. After a minute, L got up to go to the bathroom, and I whispered "Go for it!" to Sara, and then kicked her leg under the table when she didn't respond immediately. Finally, she jumped over to D's side of the booth. D's immediate reaction was along the lines of "What the hell's going on?" So Sara, in a stroke of genius, told D that she had moved in order to facilitate my hitting on L. Then all three of us talked about that for a minute, and I explained how I felt like I was doing way better than I usually did with that sort of thing and as a result had no idea what was actually going on or whether I was making the correct moves. He told me that I seemed to be doing pretty well, and to keep it up.

That conversation eventually evolved into a discussion of Black Flag, because the bar was playing "Damaged" over the stereo, and then into a discussion of Iron Maiden, because D said he'd never gotten into Black Flag, and I asked him who his favorite band was. Iron Maiden may not be my favorite, but I'm pretty into them, so we geeked out about them for a while, and it was right in the middle of this that L finally came back to the table (she'd been in the bathroom, then up with C at the bar, for something like 20 minutes). By the way, I noticed that D and Sara kept moving closer to each other, and by this point were holding hands under the table. So even if my mission was not a success (and after L stayed at the bar for 20 minutes, I was thinking that it wasn't), it looked like hers was. So that was good.

Anyway, L came back to the table, sat down next to me, and started spinning an empty beer bottle on the table's surface. "Oh, are we playing spin the bottle now?" I teased her. She informed me that, indeed, we were, and then the bottle proceeded to point to me something like 5 times in a row. She had sat down really close to me, so that our arms were touching while we sat there. After the 5th or so time of the bottle pointing to me, I gave her a "Well?" sort of look. There was a moment where I felt like she might actually go ahead and kiss me, but I think maybe Sara and D being there (and going "Doooo itttt!") made her nervous, because instead, she said "Oh, I initiate, you make fun of me for it, and then you want me to follow through?" I said something jesting, but I don't remember what, and she got flustered and walked away from the table, back to talk to C at the bar.

I looked over at D and Sara. "What just happened?" D said he thought it was good that we'd shared a moment there. I could see what he was saying, but I wasn't sure where it would go, if anywhere. After another minute or two, last call was called, and those of us still at the table drifted slowly over to the bar. I stood next to L and we talked for a few moments, pretty much about nothing--she had had a couple more drinks and seemed tipsy to say the least at this point--but we did stand really close to each other. Still, nothing definitive ever really happened. I caught a ride back to Sara's house and my car with L, who wasn't destroyed but was probably drunk enough that she shouldn't have been driving. I really shouldn't have gotten in the car with her--sometimes I'm an idiot. Sara, by the way, caught a ride back with D. Good for her.

When I got home last night, I had that Friday night insomnia that I'm sometimes struck with. It's hard to go out on Friday nights, be fully active until 2 or 3 AM, and then go right to sleep for work at 10 the next morning. Sure enough, I tossed and turned all night, and though I don't know how much sleep I got, I know that I was awake at 4, then again at 6, 7:30, and 9. I feel OK right now, but by this afternoon when I get out of work, I will surely crash out on my easy chair for a number of hours. Hopefully not too long, though--there's a Ghastly City Sleep/Antlers/Brainworms show I want to hit up tonight.

One more postscript to this whole saga: I figured I'd probably never see L again if I didn't make some effort to track her down. And of course, with things like that, I always feel like I should use the internet. At first I considered making a Craigslist missed connection, but then I thought about how those are so chancy--you never know if the person is going to see them or not. Instead, I decided to go ahead and try to find her on Myspace. Sure enough, Sara had C on her friend list, and C had L on hers. So I located her within a minute or so. And I sent her a message.

"Subject: Hey, you know...
Body:...when you spun that bottle last night, you should have gone ahead and kissed me. I know I teased you about a lot of stuff, but in all seriousness--I would have been into it.

We should hang out sometime."

Part of me is freaking out about having done this, like "Oh my god are you crazy? That's way too bold! She's gonna think you're a creepy stalker!" But right now, the side of me that's all "Fuck it!" is ruling the day. And really, I know that this side is the more rational side in this instance, because what I did was basically my only option other than forgetting about it and figuring that "if it's meant to be" I'd run into her again later. I don't even believe in "meant to be"--why entrust stuff like this to fate? That never works. At least this way, there's some small chance of a positive outcome.

And even if I still don't ever hear from her again, at least I had a good time last night, and gained the attentions of a pretty girl, even if only for a little while. That, in and of itself, is cool enough.

current mood: good

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Saturday, November 24th, 2007
11:40 am - Followup.
When I wrote that post a day and a half ago, I don't think I did too good a job of saying what was really on my mind. However, I think this comes a lot closer to what I meant.

It's funny, these days it seems like I can only really write well about my life when I'm tying it into music.

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Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
11:58 pm - It's hard to find a friend.
I pretty much swore to myself that I wasn't going to use this thing anymore a long time ago, maybe two years ago. There have been a few posts since then, but not many. Livejournal was a relic of a part of my life that feels, in hindsight, like a total mistake. It was a time when I completely succumbed to feelings generated by depression and social anxiety, and lost the ability to have a social life outside of the internet. It became a problem too obvious to ignore, and I disconnected from a lot of things that had previously been big parts of my life. All of them were internet things: AIM, Makeoutclub, this site. And these days I'm pretty active in the punk scene again, the way I was when I was younger and actually felt like I had a life outside of the internet. That's good.

But things still suck where relationships are concerned. I haven't had a girlfriend since Kat and I broke up, nearly 3 years ago. I've dated a few people since then, but I never can feel much of anything for them. After years and years in which I was always the one who got dumped, I've become one of those people who always ends things. And sometimes it makes the other person really sad, but I never feel anything but relief. It's not that I don't want relationships anymore, though--it's just that I can't seem to ever get anything going with anyone that interests me. Hell, it's not often that anyone does anymore. I spent a long time harping on it, and I'm trying not to care anymore, but the fact is that I'm over 30 and I don't much relate to the women I meet anymore. Either they're way younger than me and don't have the kind of life experience I have--by which I mean, they seem incredibly immature to me--or they're my age and they've got divorces and kids and middle-class suburban lifestyles I don't want and can't relate to at all. So, who to date? The answer has pretty much been nobody.

But I'm still lonely. I still want the kind of connection that I at least occasionally had with significant others as a younger person. I don't know if it's ever going to happen, though. Even though I'm doing way better than I used to, I'm still not that confident of a person. It's hard for me to believe that I'm not way too fat and ugly for anyone to ever have any interest in me [this is not a cry for attention, this is merely a fact of my own self-perception]. And it's hard for me to override all of these negative perceptions and make an effort towards achieving some kind of thing with the few girls I do have an interest in, because there's always some small voice in the back of my head going "dude, you're wasting your time, it's not happening. And you'll just end up getting hurt when it doesn't." And, man... I know everyone struggles with stuff like that, and I know you have to ignore that voice or you'll lose your mind, but shit--it's ALWAYS RIGHT. I'm tired of it always being right.

There are a couple of girls in my life right now that I feel some attraction to, but I haven't done much of anything to make that clear. Part of me has considered it, considered it a lot in fact, but I don't think I'm going to bother. I've been on the receiving end of that friend-zone speech so many times in my life... I know it by heart by now, and I totally know what sorts of situations in which it'll happen. So even though you don't REALLY know unless you try, the odds just don't make me feel like it's even worth it.

I'm tired of being lonely. I'm tired of feeling like crap. I thought I had more to say in this entry but I guess that's it. I will now disappear for another year.

current mood: lonely

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Wednesday, January 10th, 2007
2:02 am - still alive
lord i am at wits end
on a road with selfish people with a bad way

yeah, that about sums it up.

props go out to jeff from san diego.

hello and love to the rest of you.

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Monday, December 11th, 2006
12:52 pm
last week, somebody bought me paid time on this account, which is weird, because i haven't used it for much of anything in over a year now. but however misguided the gift may have been, i appreciate it, whoever you are, and this may just induce me to feel guilty enough to post a time or two on here before the whole thing expires.


but yeah, thanks.

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Wednesday, November 9th, 2005
2:37 am - wasn't expecting to write this... it just kinda came out
i found out today that my old roommate tattoo bill is dead. my best friend, rob deicide, called me from missouri where he lives now to let me know. apparently bill, who struggled with heroin addiction for about half of his life, finally hit that fatal od. he was living out in san francisco, and i hadn't talked to him in a couple years, and now i never will again. that shit sucks.

i met bill shively through rob back in 1998. he was almost immediately dubbed tattoo bill because we already had a friend in our circle named bill, and this new bill was covered, literally COVERED, in tattoos. i can remember sitting out on our front porch one winter evening and thinking "wow, i can't see any of bill's tattoos." he was wearing a stocking cap, gloves, and a scarf wrapped around his neck, in addition to a thick coat, jeans and boots. if he'd taken any one of those articles of clothing off, it would have revealed at least two or three tattoos. his face was the only place he didn't have them.

bill never wore shorts. this was because he had a swastika tattoo on his thigh. he didn't want anyone to see it, but he refused to cover it up. it was from his days as a teenage nazi skinhead. that was all behind him when i met him, but he always said that he didn't believe in hiding anything from his past. he wanted to remember it, even if it was a memory of his own stupidity. but he didn't wear shorts, because he figured it was best not to let anyone else see it until they got to know him, and would know what he was really like. i can remember once he went to his old hometown for a show and got jumped by some guys who remembered back when he was a skinhead. he got fucked up pretty bad, and when he got home that night we were all pretty upset to see him like that. he wasn't even mad, though. he just shook his head and said "i was stupid back then. i deserved it." he wasn't interested in any sort of revenge. in his mind, things were just about even.

he also had heroin and meth addiction in his past. you could tell he'd done some drugs if you saw his teeth, which were brown and chipped. it was the kind of damage that guys that young didn't have unless they'd grown up dirt poor (which he hadn't, though he wasn't well off by any stretch), or been on drugs for a long time. we always assumed that this sort of thing was something that bill wouldn't do anymore, that he'd learned from the error of his ways just like with the nazi thing. if there's one thing i've learned about heroin though, it's that it never quite lets go of the people it's had in its clutches.

tonight when rob and i talked, we tried to remember the good times, and not let ourselves get bummed out. i recalled once when our whole house was on a trip to the grocery store, and bill pulled out his notebook and said, deadpan, "i brought my shopping list." when we looked over, he was holding up a page on which he'd done a huge drawing that prominently featured the words "ROCK N ROLL -and- 20 DOLLAR WHORES". we all cracked up and everyone in kroger glared at us.

there was this little cafe called the village that bill always went to. it's still there, about 4 blocks from my house, and i joked to rob that i was gonna go in there and order a coffee and a coke, which was what bill always got, and dump the coffee on the floor for my dead homie. for about five years, bill seemed like he was doing his best to keep the place in business. if he didn't answer the phone when you called him, all you had to do was go to the village and look for him. if he wasn't in there when you got there, he'd be along, and he'd sit right down in your booth if he saw you or any of his friends there. it got to the point that the waitstaff knew bill's order and his coffee and coke would materialize in front of him about 45 seconds after he sat down, without him having to say anything. i figured the village could stand a little coffee on the floor for a guy like that.

i don't know when exactly it was that i started seeing less of bill, but it seems like it was around 2001. rob and i weren't living with him anymore, and he just suddenly wasn't around, hardly ever. apparently this was when he got back into the smack. i was straightedge then just like i am now, and though rob has always liked his booze he never approved of bill or anyone doing the harder stuff. in particular i can remember an incident where bill and rob were on a road trip together, and bill did meth with some guys they stayed with down in the tidewater area of virginia. rob was upset with him, and they had a big fight about it. i guess that's what bill was remembering when he started avoiding us. he didn't want us to see him in that state any more than we wanted to see it.

a couple years ago, he moved out to san fran, and i didn't find out about it til after he was gone. he went with the guys in the band pcp roadblock, an insane jesus lizard-inspired band who were his best friends in the world. he always was kind of their unofficial manager, so i wasn't surprised that he'd gone with them. it was andy, their guitar player, who spread the word about bill's death to all of us back east. he said something in the myspace bulletin i read about how bill always said not to be said if he died, but how it was hard not to be. i know what he means. rob and i laughed a lot about old times when we talked earlier, but now i'm just kind of bummed. bill was a great guy with a lot of potential. apparently he and andy had been doing some art showings with their paintings out there in san fran, and word was that bill was really excited about going somewhere with that. i wish he could have stuck around, because he was a great artist and a great guy with a lot of potential. as it is, the heroin caught up to him. fucking heroin. what a waste.

anyway, bill's dead, and i miss him, and for those of you who never knew him i wanted you to know what a great dude you all missed out on. rest in peace, bill. we all miss you.

Bill Shively 1974-2005

current mood: sad

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Monday, August 15th, 2005
5:58 pm - Interview with myself
Q: so you really don't write too much in this thing anymore.
A: nah, i really don't.

Q: why is that?
A: well, i guess the truth is that this thing has mostly outlived its usefulness for me. i don't mean that to be a slam on anyone else who still uses livejournal or anything like that--far from it. my initial reason for starting one was that i felt like, for someone who claimed to be a writer, and who WANTED to be a writer, i didn't write much. a livejournal seemed like an easy way to get myself in the habit of writing regularly. it was mostly for myself, in that i never wrote from the perspective of keeping my friends updated on what was going on in my life, so much as i just wrote about whatever was on my mind at the time, which might or might not have related to what was happening to me that day or that week. but the whole "lj friend" system was important, because it gave me an audience that was there from day one, which placed expectations on me about how often i would write. i could never have gotten the same sort of push to write on a regular basis from a paper journal that i got from having a livejournal.

it's worked beautifully, too. these days i have a sign on my wall that tells me, in big block capital letters, to "WRITE EVERY DAY!!" and most of the time i actually obey it. it might only be a decent sized email, or some song lyrics, or a couple paragraphs that'll eventually be part of a much longer work, but i do write an awful lot more now than i did when i started my livejournal.

these days, writing about my life, rather than being a good way to explore concepts relating to my personality and the problems i have dealing with the world, just seems limiting. i guess the whole personal/confessional style that i practiced for the three and a half years that i've been doing my livejournal was something that i initiated, honed, perfected, and ultimately wore out. these days i'm more concerned with writing things that are, and i really hate to use this term but it's the most appropriate one i can think of at the moment, more marketable. i'm ready to start working on the things that i always thought would make up my writing career.

Q: what things are those?
A: short answer: fiction and rock criticism.

where the latter is concerned, i have a music blog that's been mentioned in this livejournal a bunch, especially back when i started it. it's located here and i try to update at least once a week. now, sometimes there are three entries in three days and other times i go over two weeks without posting, but i hope it ultimately equals out. it's definitely the case that that thing gets updated a lot more than this thing does, and i expect things to stay that way.

fiction is more just something i'm working with in the idea stage right now. i've of course got a novel to revise, and "rework" is probably a better term: i've done some work towards rewriting the first three chapters in a way that they'll include a substantial amount of new material and be five chapters instead of three when i'm done with them, but it hasn't gotten very far towards completion because the work i try to do always feels like pulling teeth. i was writing a lot of that stuff in a notebook, though, because after doing my taking back sunday review in a notebook out of necessity (i was at my parents' house and couldn't get access to a computer unless i was listening to a television, which would leave me totally unable to think and compose effectively), i thought that maybe this would be a good way to continue my writing work. i now think that this was a really bad idea, but by the time i figured out that trying to work this way on my novel was just making it way harder than it needed to be, i was burnt out enough to want to put the thing aside again for a while. i haven't picked it up again since, but i'm sure it'll happen soon. in the meantime, i have a story from a couple years ago that i want to do a rewrite/polish on and maybe try to find someplace to submit it. that story actually got posted on this journal under a friends-lock back when i wrote it, and recently i rediscovered it and realized that it's actually way better than i thought at the time (no link to the original post--go back and find it in my archive if you're that curious). i also have another idea that's full of holes but i think has potential. it's a horror story. i don't want to say anything more about that right now.

Q: so is this whole interview just a way to build up to an announcement that you're closing this livejournal down?
A: hahaha that would be so drama-queen, wouldn't it? no, absolutely not. this thing is going to stay here for a few reasons. first of all, i have quite a few friends that i'm either only in touch with anymore through this journal or whom i just don't see very often and hear from way more frequently through my friendlist than anywhere else. i don't want to lose the ability to keep up with those people, to comment on their entries, etc. second of all, there's a lot of old writing stored on this website that i don't want to disappear from the web, especially since most of it is not archived on my computer or anywhere else that i know (sometime when i've got some extra time i should really remedy that... i'd also probably need to clear some hard drive space. ugh). this place is as good a place to keep all of it as any, and hell, sometimes i like being able to link people to old reviews i wrote of albums or movies, or essays about particular psychological issues that are being discussed, or whatever. finally, i don't want to delete this thing because i'm sure there will occasionally be times in the future where i want to write about what's going on in my daily life. i may even still be moved at times to write one of those essay-length entries about personal interaction that i was so well-known for at one time. when i feel like doing that, i'll do it here, so all of you readers can be sure that you'll still get the occasional 18 paragraph wordbomb on your friendlists. it'll be more like once every few months instead of once a week or two, but it'll happen.

Q: ok, so speaking of what's going on in your daily life... what IS going on in your daily life since you quit writing on here a few months ago?
A: well, let's see. since march i've been going to shows on a pretty regular basis after going to almost none for three years. this month has actually been kinda quiet where that is concerned, but there are a bunch of things coming up for the rest of the month and into september that i'm pretty sure i'll be going to.

other than that, the big news for me has been that eric smith finally moved back to richmond after living in northern virginia for three years. for those of you who don't know, eric played in tri state killing spree with me for five years, was one of the primary musical songwriters in that band (along with tink), and went from being a kid who'd answered an ad we put in a record store for a bass player to one of my best friends in the world during that time. tsks broke up because of eric moving away, and that was really hard for me to deal with because within the space of about a year and a half he, chris terry, and rob deicide all moved away. having three of my best friends in the world all leave in a relatively short period of time may have been a lot of what led me to isolating myself from all the old friends i used to have and hardly ever leaving my house for a good year or two. it's been so good to have eric back in town i can't even do justice to it with words. he moved back here with his girlfriend and six other kids in tow, most of whom had never lived in richmond before. they rented a huge three-story 7 bedroom house on boulevard, and i go over there almost every day now. in addition to eric and his girlfriend jojo (who, despite being "my friend's girlfriend", has become almost as good a friend to me over the two years they've been dating as eric is. that's never happened with any friend's girlfriend ever before, but i'm really glad it did this time, because jojo fucking rules), there's nate, who plays bass in eric's "new" band, the catalyst (who have actually been around for three years... listen to them here), jamie, who is from delaware and just joined the catalyst on second guitar/second drum set (he switches off depending on the song), kyle, who lived in nova near the catalyst kids for a while but is originally from lynchburg, ryan aka shaggy, who dropped out of the university of west virginia after a year, got a job at the red robin burger place where eric and kevin (catalyst drummer, who still lives in nova) worked, and ended up living in their living room closet in nova, catie (which she used to pronounce "katie" but eric changed to "catty"), another red robin employee from nova, julie, who eric met during a weed deal and who is actually from the west end of richmond... god, is that everybody? i totally got lost there in the middle of naming everyone. ok yeah, all of those kids rule. i go to eric's house like every day now, and we just sit out on the porch nine nights out of ten, talking until three or four in the morning. i'm like the ninth roommate because sometimes i'll come over when no one is there and just hang out waiting for people to come home. they totally don't mind.

oh, and i'm starting a band with eric, too.

Q: yeah? tell us about that.
A: we don't have the drummer position nailed down yet. confirmed members right now are me singing, eric on guitar, kyle on bass, and our friend dave odell on second guitar. dave used to play in the human timebomb with eric, though he usually only handled samples in that band--he played guitar at one show, that's it. we practiced a couple of times with jamie on drums, but he wanted to play different styles of stuff than eric and i want to do, so we agreed we'd find another drummer. we're practicing tomorrow night, and i think we have something up our sleeve about who is going to play drums, but we'll figure that out as it goes. not that i'm trying to be mysterious, i just don't want to say anything about anything unconfirmed. we'll see what happnes.

Q: that's cool. what's it gonna sound like?
A: ideally, it'll be a continuation of what eric and dave and i were doing in tri state killing spree and the human timebomb, though i think it'll be less mathy than timebomb was, at least. fast and heavy hardcore with occasional blastbeats, and hopefully a lot of weird and original guitar riffing and shit. i've been writing lyrics for it for months, and i can tell you that i'm trying to come from a completely different place than i did when i was writing lyrics for tri state killing spree. in that band, i was all about telling people about how the world would be a better place if they quit doing what they were doing and did what i was telling them to do, because i knew what was up and had a better plan. i feel like such a dick talking like that now. i guess it's because the older i get, the less anything appears black and white and the more shades of grey everything seems to have. i still want the words to be straightforward and express a point of view and take a definite stand on the things i deal with and see around me in my day to day life, but no more telling people how to act. instead, i'm trying to write from my own point of view, and use my lyrics as a way to express things that maybe sometimes i'm afraid to say in conversation or whatever. i don't know if it'll have any effect, but it'd be nice to be able to get people talking about the way humans treat each other, which i honestly think is pretty horrible most of the time. i certainly don't want to say i'm not just as guilty as everyone else--i totally am. but i recognize that i'm fucked up, and maybe by talking about how i'm fucked up and putting that stuff on the table, i can get people thinking about it at least. to that end, i think i'll be passing out lyric sheets when we start playing shows.

Q: so does the band have a name yet?
A: yeah, it's called the internet. it was eric's idea, and i thought it was just a dumb silly joke at first, but after thinking about it for a while, i realized that there were a lot of important ideas i could introduce into the lyrics and themes of our band from the position of us being named the internet. i've even written a sort of manifesto song called "the name of this band is the internet", and if you get the reference i'm making in that title then you rule.

Q: isn't there a band called that already? from baltimore maybe?
A: yeah, so i hear. but i mean, fuck it, right? i gave up the name left for dead because of the canadian band, and used tri state killing spree instead. then it turned out that there was a goth band called that from california who were pretty well known in those circles, not to mention an oi band (i think?), from indiana, who had a couple eps out. any good band name you think of has been used before, or so it seems to me. i guess that's why so many bands have awful names these days. but that's another conversation entirely. anyway, yeah, we're sticking with this name. we figure either that band will break up, we'll break up, or we'll both get famous and one of us will win the inevitable lawsuit and get to keep the name. at worst, we'll end up having to change our name to something else after we're already famous. big deal.

Q: ok, well, i'm about out of questions, and it looks like it's about closing time at the store anyway. is there anything else you want to mention?
A: hmmm. not much else is going on with me right now, though i am as usual struggling with money. i owe $130 in gas charges by the 19th or it gets cut off, i have a $135 doctor bill i have to pay, i need to refill my prescriptions, which is $100 or thereabouts, i need to pay insurance, which will be around $50, i need to change the oil in my car, get gas, get my city sticker already, and get the car inspected, which... god knows how much all that will cost, and i've got $460 in my pocket. eeep. also, wes moved out at the beginning of this month, so i need to hit up rva and craigslist and anything else i can think of with "roommate needed" ads, so i can pay $325 a month rent again next month instead of $487.50 like i did this month. otherwise i will continue to have more bills than i can pay, and fuck that. if any of you readers out there need a place to live in the richmond area, or have a friend who does, get in touch with me with the quickness. the sooner i find someone, the more comfortable i'll feel.

but man, enough about money. i hate discussing it. anyone who lives in my local area and hasn't heard from me in a while, feel free to call: 804-358-0303. we'll hang out. you kids from outside of town should call too if you want, and we can talk. that is, when i get home from wherever i am, get your message, and call you back. haha. if i owe you a phone call or an email, fear not, i know and i'm gonna hit you up soon.

ok, that's all i can think of. thanks for indulging me with this crazy format.

Q: it's cool, man, it was my idea anyway.
A: hah, yeah, i guess it was.

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Sunday, July 10th, 2005
8:08 pm
i went to see dinosaur jr last night and didn't get to bed until 4 am. then today, i woke up at noon, and was back asleep by 5 pm. i just woke up again. i hate my fucking blood pressure medicine sometimes--every afternoon i get tired as fuck and if i don't have something to do to keep me awake and active i end up falling asleep. then i'm up til 3 am even if i have to be up again at 8. it sucks. and i'm not even taking as much of it as i'm prescribed during the day--when i was, i fell asleep every afternoon without fail, even at work. i am overdue to see my doctor--was supposed to go last month, but i've been waiting to not be hellaciously broke to make an appointment. i've decided i'm going in next week no matter how my financial situation is. since i get paid on friday, i should be ok, but then i've been neglecting a couple of bills that i really need to pay, so this could be yet another time when i'm out of money 3 days after i get it. ugh. anyway, when i go to the doctor i'm going to talk to him about maybe switching meds. as it is, my blood pressure doesn't stay below what he wants it to be except for about 4 hours of every 12 hour period. a friend of mine with high blood pressure warned me that this would be the effect of one medicine i was taking in particular, and he was right. it's the same medicine that knocks me out, too.

i've had some ideas for writing lately, for the first time in a long time, but this constant sleepiness fucks me up where that's concerned. i took some notes this morning for a short story idea kicking around in my head, but i don't think i'm going to do much where that is concerned for a while. it's something totally new and different from what i've ever done before and is going to require more extensive plotting than anything i've ever even attempted. this is daunting. right now i want to let the idea rattle around in my head for a while. in the meantime, i've resurrected the first draft of a story i wrote two years ago and read through it a bit. i think i'm going to rewrite it and then take a friend up on an offer to get something of mine into a literary magazine (assuming the offer is still open--i've neglected things where writing is concerned for a few weeks, so it may not be). and of course i still want to finish up the things i wanted to send to spin. the more i think about it the more i think that what appeals to me and to my regular readers about my music writing will have too much personality for a place like spin, but fuck it, it's worth a shot. so i should take it already.

today i'm listening to a gunmoll album i've had for years, constantly. they sound kinda like leatherface: catchy pop riffing played by distorted guitars and heavy drums, with scratchy, belted out vocals overtop. it's mournful and sad and for some reason is totally fitting with my mood. when all i do is sleep and go to work i start to feel useless, like i'll never amount to anything more than a menial worker at any point in my life. it gets me down. i don't know that it should since the sleeping thing i know is due to health/medicine issues and not laziness, but it still does. oh man, i just remembered that i told eric i'd write something 2000 words long for his zine and get it to him by the time he gets back from tour, which is the day after tomorrow. of course, this is me and i could do it in an hour and a half at work tomorrow, but i have no idea what to write so this may be tougher than it seems. he's also said that he'll base the theme of his new issue around whatever i turn in to him, which makes it even harder to do the writing because i keep thinking about whether my ideas are worth being the theme of a whole zine issue. oh well. i'm sure i'll come up with something at the last minute and it'll rule. i always did great work under pressure: look at the 10-page "hamlet" paper i wrote in college the night before it was due and got an a on. back then, i used to do that all the time: have a paper due at 3:30 the next afternoon, and only start it at 2 am that night. i'd write some crazy rough draft that had no conclusion or footnotes on a couple sheets of paper, sleep until the computer lab at the library opened up, then bust up in there at 8 am and write the whole thing in a couple hours while skipping morning classes, pulling footnotes from books in my backpack while listening to the posies or cloud 13 on my walkman. i can remember doing this on more than one occasion and getting excited at how legitimately good the paper was turning out.

oh wow, remembering that totally made me feel better. fuck it, i'll be all right. take care everyone.

current mood: still a bit sleepy

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Saturday, June 25th, 2005
4:02 pm - reasons to quit posting on makeoutclub.com
1) i originally started posting on there because i had a good time doing it. i'm not having a good time anymore. yes, i've made a lot of friends through said website (the ultimate frustration of having tons of friends but all of them living so far away you rarely/never see them being left aside), but those people will still be my friends if i leave, especially since the lion's share of them don't post anymore. i can write emails and call them on the phone, which i already do anyway.
2) the overwhelming mentality is one of insecurity, which comes out particularly through the constant putdowns and character assassinations people on there direct at other people. regardless of whether or not anyone had any reason to turn the spotlight on me recently (more on that in a minute), it's not something that i enjoy seeing under ANY circumstances. even when it's being directed at people i don't know or hate, my instinct is to sympathize with the underdog. it tends to make me feel sick to even see it, and there's been a lot of it to see lately.
3) if anything, my and other people's attempts at more active moderation have made it worse. the lack of moderation in the past encouraged people who just wanted to be assholes to stick around, while it ran off the ones who didn't enjoy fighting and being attacked all the time. so not only are the kids i like most ending up bailing out (koley's the latest to take off), i don't like the content that's replacing them.
4) all of that just adds up to stuff about why it's not as good as it used to be. but then when i was moderator (for the four days i actually held the position), i deleted stuff that i felt to be inappropriate content, and ended up becoming the center for all of the most vicious mudslinging that's happened since. one of the main people involved in posting the stuff i found inappropriate was a person i've been friends with for years, but as soon as i deleted one of his threads, he totally went after me and basically pitched our friendship to the side in favor of using everything personal he knew about me to blacken my own name. despite it happening six years ago, the fact that i dated [name removed on second thought] when she was 14 and i was 23 got brought BACK up (for probably the third time in the history of my posting on moc), and everyone is currently engaged in the third straight day of bashing me for it. never mind the fact that i regret it now, never mind the fact that i realize what i did was wrong, never mind the fact that i didn't have sex with her... no mitigating factors are considered. instead, i not only WAS but AM STILL a creepy child molestor. some of the kids on there are at least relatively understanding of facts over hype, but it's hard to watch all this shit being posted about myself and not want to try and explain, to sort out what's legitimate, what's hyped up and not true, etc. i can't put myself through this. it's ruined the last three days of my life, and made me really depressed.
5) and today i realized (or rather, remembered): i don't need it. sure, it's something i've been involved for years, sure it used to be fun, but fuck it. i have real friends in real life, all of whom dealt with the [name removed] situation at some point in the past, most of whom had to deal with it when it was happening, and all of whom have made their peace with me, whether they were ok with it at the time or not. i can post on other message boards when i'm bored at work. hell, i can read books instead of posting on message boards. i don't need this ridiculous notion of an internet community. all it does is make me sad. i haven't written in weeks. why let this fuck me up even more?

in conclusion: i'm done. maybe i'll go back in 6 months or a year, and see how it's doing. maybe not. in the end, all that matters is that i do something that will make me feel better. and continuing to post on makeutclub isn't it.

p.s. try to keep the "i'm better than you because you care about a message board" comments to a minimum, kids.

current mood: depressed, stupid, and lame

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Friday, June 10th, 2005
2:57 pm
oh shit, jeb (reject) tagged me. i was wondering when this would happen. now i have to list my 10 current favorite songs.

let's go.

1. mary timony - friend to jc
2. bailter space - morning
3. glory of this - senior superlative
4. cold water flat - magnetic north pole
5. ryan adams - easy plateau
6. system of a down - cigaro
7. brand new - "sic transit gloria... glory fades"
8. 400 blows - "the secret life"
9. kitchens of distinction - come on now
10. moneen - "with this song i will destroy myself"

subject to change within minutes, but accurate at time of posting.

i'm not going to tag anyone in particular, because i haven't kept up and am not sure who's already been tagged, but instead i'll just say that if you haven't been tagged but were hoping someone would tag you (which is how i felt til jeb tagged me), then consider this a tag for you.

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Saturday, June 4th, 2005
11:32 am - haven't posted in a while...
and i'm going to do this post in honor of "the confederate mack" zine, which i've been reading a lot of lately since raven sent me 5 issues a couple weeks ago.


1. my computer has been bombarded with spyware constantly for the last two or three weeks. after never really having to deal with any of this (except getting the sasser worm back in the day when it first started, and fixing it easily with the microsoft patch), it seems like the fact that one thing got onto my computer sent out some sort of virtual signal to open the floodgates and dump all this shit down on me constantly. between the aurora trojan (aka "the nail"), neededware.com and all it's related bullshit, and a million other tiny things, i've been experiencing unwanted popups, unexplained running processes, extreme slowdown, and basic inability to enjoy the fact that i even have a computer anymore every time i even try to check my email. i end up running hours of anti-spyware, anti-trojan, and anti-virus scans, and still not finding everything because shit just keeps coming back. i think part of it may be that i have never installed windows service pack 2 onto my machine, and part of it may also be that i've been too lazy to download mozilla and dispense with microsoft internet explorer completely. however, now that i've decided to do those things, i can't get rid of the fucking spyware for long enough to even get started on it.

2. as a result of all this, my sleep schedule has been so terribly fucked for weeks now that i'm starting to have bouts of physical sickness because of it. whenever anything is on my mind and feels unresolved, it's very hard for me not to just focus on it constantly with every fiber of my being. so the fact that a lot of these big spyware attacks hit late at night makes it really hard for me to go to bed at a reasonable hour, even if i do have work in the morning. last night i finally said the hell with it and made myself go to bed at 2:30, but i had to be up at 8:30 for work and six hours is barely enough for me to make it through the day on. not to mention the fact that i then tossed and turned and woke up several times during the night, every time leading me to think worriedly of my computer. i'd left a virus scan running when i went to bed, and the temptation to get up, check the results, and do further tinkering was something i had to fight off every time. and of course, today i feel like shit.

3. last night, on my way back from a show, my car wouldn't turn over when i went to start it. i couldn't tell whether this meant that the battery was dead, the alternator was dead, or if it was some other problem, but by tinkering with it a bit, i finally got it to start and drove the six blocks home. of course, the tinkering i had done didn't work this morning, and i had to get brandon to give me a ride to work. i'm going to be walking home--which is fine, i need the exercise--but i'm really worried about things being broken on my car. i can't afford to have it fixed right now if the alternator has died, and i can barely afford a new battery. of course, all that said, when i called my dad (who has worked in the car business since before i was born and was doing his own auto work in his spare time long before that) and explained what had happened, he figured it was caused by corrosive buildup on the battery terminals, and that giving things a good scraping down would solve the problem. i really hope he's right, because a cheap fix is what i need. i could use the exercise, but i don't exactly look forward to the idea of walking to work every day until the 15th when i get paid.

4. i find myself feeling a lot more even-keeled emotionally lately, now that a lot of the fallout from the whole kat thing has started to fade from my mind. sometimes i still miss her a whole hell of a lot, and i know i'll always love her in some way, but one thing i find myself noticing is that, while i'm not as happy sometimes as she would make me, i'm also not ever as depressed as she'd sometimes make me (by the way, i don't mean that kat would do things deliberately to depress me, i more mean that i'd often get depressed over events that were occurring within the relationship, and by extension affecting the status of the relationship itself... or at least, that's what i feared at the time). i'm not sure if it's worth the trade-off, but it's an interesting thing to notice, that i was at times far more depressed while in a relationship than i generally am while alone. i tend to blame all of my depression while single on loneliness/desire for a relationship, but this is pretty obviously overly reductive, and recent thoughts and events have only made that more obvious.

5. what the above makes me wonder about a lot is whether i really even want to be in relationships anymore. i'm not saying this in a drama queen sense of "fine, fuck it, i give up, i'll just be a celibate asexual whiner like morrissey" or any of that. i'm more thinking in terms of the fact that i work a lot less hard on my ultimate life goals while i'm with someone. that's a hard thing to face, but it's the truth. i also wonder whether it would stay true if i really found the "right" relationship. but i guess i'm feeling burnt lately, and would rather just not try, at least for a while. i'll focus my energies on writing and music, and if something comes along i'll worry about it then.

6. of course, on the heels of that i must mention that as soon as i decide all of this, i meet a girl who really gets my attention on a number of levels. what's more, i felt like the interest was at least somewhat mutual. part of me wants to be the awesomely determined guy who tells himself he's not going to bother, but i think in the past that's often been a smokescreen i used to hide my own fear. i don't know that it's all that likely for anything to come of this (the girl of which i speak actually lives a couple hours away from me, not that that has ever stopped me before), but i think i want to try pursuing it. i'm not expecting or hoping for anything in particular, but i gotta admit that i'm interested enough to find out what will happen.

7. i mentioned music before; well, eric has moved back to richmond recently and we're already deep into discussions of forming a new band with dave odell and rian pupa. it would probably combine our favorite elements of what we were both doing with tri state killing spree with what eric, rian, and dave were doing with human timebomb. of course, we need a rhythm section, but both eric and dave have ideas where that's concerned, and eric and 7 other people are renting a big house with a big basement that he's planning on soundproofing, so we'll have a place to practice. i really look forward to what comes of all this.

8. speaking of eric's big new house, i went over there and hung out with him and his roommates the night they moved in, doing what i could to help carry stuff inside that was still left on the moving truck (i missed a lot of the moving in because i got there so late). there are so many different projects set to spring up from that household of kids i just can't believe it. in addition to eric's band the catalyst, most of whom live there, they already have a screenprinting business going that's been doing t-shirts and record covers for bands (in fact, eric needs to get his studio in the new house going asap because of all the orders they've gotten that they haven't filled yet). also, his roommate kyle is doing a record distro, and eric and some of the other kids are trying to do some sort of locally-oriented music zine, which i've volunteered to write for. all of these projects make me happy and excited too, and i like the idea of all of them coming down here and breathing new life into the scene. i hope to be able to help out with a lot of this stuff.

9. last night at the show i went to, i met a guy who posts on the lastplanetojakarta forums with me, who is from richmond. it's funny, lptj is a much smaller forum than makeoutclub, and yet there are 3 richmond people on there, while i'm the only one on moc (well, the only steady one... there's a girl from richmond who posts on there occasionally, and a couple other local kids who used to post but don't anymore). anyway, it was good to meet him and he's a really cool guy. in fact, he planted a new train of thought in my mind, as he himself writes for a couple of internet music sites and was saying that he's read my music blog a bunch and thinks i'm a "much better writer" than he is (i don't know about all that, but it's what he said). he was telling me that the way he got on the sites he writes for is that he saw that they'd put out a call for writers and sent them what they were looking for. and he got accepted. simple as that. this makes me think that i need to start monitoring all of these websites to see if they are looking for submissions. of course, i don't quite know which ones to check, other than that i don't want to write for pitchfork (even if they pay, it's worth it to me not to be associated with that whole crew). but i think i'm gonna have to start looking around. this whole thing where i've never sent anyone anything just gets more and more ridiculous the older i get, and if younger kids than me can send stuff out and get gigs so easily, i can't imagine that i'd have all that much trouble finding someone who wants to publish my crap. so that's something to get working on (in addition to the fact that i still need to send stuff to spin. my procrastinating is getting ridiculous on that front as well).

10. i don't plan on using this journal much anymore. most of my writing these days goes on my music blog. i try to update it at least once a week, and though i don't always get there, i update it three or four times in one week at other times. so check back semi-frequently, and hopefully i'll have new content for you more often than not. it's not as focused on my personal life as this journal tends to be, and i think part of the reason i'm writing more there than here is because i don't feel as inspired to write expository essays that are directly about my own life as i used to. but when i write about music, i'm generally writing about myself on some level, and i think you'll continue seeing that if you look hard enough.

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Wednesday, April 13th, 2005
2:49 pm - i'm back
i haven't made a non-private entry on this thing in months, and i haven't even looked at my friendlist in weeks, but as of a couple days ago i'm back to looking/commenting, and now i figure i will write a journal entry. this will probably be shorter than my normal stuff, and crappy writing. however, it's a start.

i went to the doctor for the first time in three months today. my blood pressure was 140/100, which is not anywhere near in the league of what it was back when i first went in december, but is still high. 140/85 is what my doctor is shooting for, so he upped my meds today. luckily, there's no new medication, because i couldn't have afforded any prescriptions until friday when i get paid, but i am taking more of two of the three medications i'm on than i was before. the one where i was taking half a pill in the morning and the other half at night is now a full pill in the morning and another one at night. meanwhile, the one i was taking one of during the day and two of during the night is now two at each time. i originally was prescribed it that way, but had to scale it back because the two pills during the day thing was knocking me out. however, for the past couple months my medicine hasn't been making me the least bit tired during the day, so i figured upping the dosage would be no big deal. well, i'm not AS sluggish today as i was when i first started taking the pills and it knocked me out, but i can't deny that i feel a bit draggy today. hopefully, this will iron itself out once my body gets used to the amount of medication i'm taking right now and i'll be ok during the day again relatively soon.

this would be nice, because i've FINALLY started work on the second draft of my novel, after letting it sit for 10 months. i wrote a new first chapter to go before the original beginning over the weekend, and i now need a new second chapter, also to go before the original beginning, an expansion of the third chapter (the original beginning will probably start about halfway through this chapter--then i will have to figure out whether anything from the original opening chapter repeats anything that i've put in the new chapters. no, i haven't gone back and reread any of the manuscript, not since maybe a month after i wrote it. this may prove to have been a stupid move on my part at some later point, but right now i'm saying fuck it), and a complete rewrite of the fifth chapter to make it more interesting. once i have the first five chapters in passable second draft form, i think i'm going to send them off to chris terry, who did a huge editing job on the original manuscript and will probably have plenty of picking apart to do with this new version as well. i'm thinking that most of the middle of the book is ok, but the ending of the present-day story arc probably needs a rewrite as well. then there's the fact that i tend to think a good 60% of the individual words chosen when i wrote the first draft to have been wrong... as crazy as this may seem, i plan to do the second draft the same way i did the second draft of "cemetry gates" (a novella i wrote in late 2001-early 2002, which appears in four parts in some of the earliest entries to this journal. i'm not linking it, dig through my archive and find it yourself if you're interested)--by retyping the entire text from a printed manuscript copy of the first draft. in fact, i'll be using the one chris terry wrote all over, so that in addition to all the things that, the second i read them, i cringe at and have to recompose, i'll have his notes on all the things HE cringed at and wanted me to recompose. so yeah, there's a lot of work left to do. around january when i had a lot of other crap on my mind and it seemed forever away, i gave myself a deadline of july 1. at this point, that's still possible, but i just don't know if i see it happening. i'd be tremendously helped with all of this if i don't have my medicine knocking me out for most of the daylight hours, however, so any luck there would make me happy.

since my last journal entry, in which i mentioned going out to a local show for the first time in a long time, i've been going to pretty much every show i could catch. it's been good for two reasons--the first, and most immediately important/necessary, being that it often provides a distraction from the ongoing problems associated with kat and our breakup, and the second being that i've seen more old friends and acquaintances in the past month and a half than i had in years before. i've been having a lot of fun, seeing a lot of great (and a few not-so-great) bands, and hanging out with a lot of great people who i was just sure had forgotten all about me. i've seen eric twice since last i wrote in here, and it now looks like he's moving here sometime this summer, rather than waiting until the end of the year. this will be good--it'll be good to have him around again, and the sooner i can start playing music (or at least actively attempting to), the better i'll feel.

it was through eric that i met this girl last month who was interested in me. we hung out a couple of times, but that came to a pretty quick end. she isn't a bad person per se, but she is only 20, which is slightly younger than i want to date, and she had that whole typical party girl who likes to get fucked up and tries to be brash to impress the boys thing going on. or maybe that call is wrong--i don't really know, i kinda wasn't paying that much attention the entire time we were hanging out. i enjoyed the ego boost of it all, and actually did ask her to hang out a couple times, but when i figured out she wasn't going to throw herself at me and wanted me to work for any action i was gonna get, i didn't even feel like bothering. i'm nervous about shit like that anyway, and a lot of the things she'd said in conversations related to dating and sex had made me feel totally nervous where that sort of interaction with her was concerned. her flirting with me and being interested had been an ego boost, but it seemed to me that going very far with it would quickly put me in ego-threatening territory, and i just turned into rivers cuomo about it and said, "why bother?" when i called her to hang out a third time, she never called back, and i found myself not really caring. it was a learning experience on the whole, but not really that noteworthy.

as all of that was winding down, kat and i started writing emails back and forth, after spending almost a month pretty much not communicating. this started out well and was making me feel good about our chances of becoming friends, but of course it went badly after not too long. it's still pretty close to the end of our relationship (officially it's been three months, in reality more like two), and of course it wasn't long before i started thinking about possibilities beyond friendship. i don't want to get back together with her right now--i feel like there are things she'd need to change and grow out of before i'd ever be able to be in a relationship with her. meanwhile, i've been looking at my life since we broke up and realizing that to some extent she was right about my sense of responsibility. i still am not interested in going to work in an office and wearing a tie and doing a job i hate just to bring home a bigger paycheck, but one thing she pointed out at the time that didn't sink in until much later was that if i had taken this alternate route in my life in order to facilitate writing, i certainly wasn't doing any. these days, since the breakup, i'm trying to do a lot more of that sort of thing, with my eyes finally turned towards the idea of making it into a secondary source of income. even if i were to become somewhat successful through that method, i still don't know if it would seem like enough for her not to feel that i'm the wrong guy for her, but either way it's something i need to do, for myself. so ok, on both ends i feel like we couldn't be together right now. however, this didn't stop me from wanting to see her, talk to her, spend time with her, and have physical closeness with her in the near future. so as we were writing back and forth, i found all of these thoughts cropping up in my mind. then last week she said something to me in an email that was very lovingly descriptive of what she had wanted to experience with me, and what she was missing now that i was not in her life. it made me feel like we were on the same wavelength, so i wrote her back a long email about everything i had been thinking, and about how much i missed her and etc. i never really got a direct response, but i spent the next few days in absolute emotional agony, to the point where it bled into the realm of the physical and i had trouble eating and sleeping. finally, after days of feeling this way, last saturday i decided that this was unhealthy and wrote to her again, telling her that i was making my life a living hell by thinking about all of this, that we had tried to be in too close a contact too soon, and that i would be withdrawing from communication with her for at least a couple of weeks. she did respond to that email, and in her response she said something like "i will always love you, and have not ruled out the possibility that we will be together again one day, but it's something that seems more unlikely with each passing day." she also apologized for what she had said in the email earlier in the week that had upset me so much, and admitted that she had placed immediate gratification of her own feelings ahead of controlling for the confusion that i might (and did) experience upon reading it. finally, she said that she agreed that me not contacting her for a while was probably for the best.

so that's where we stand right now. i've even quit posting on makeoutclub.com. that message board is where we first got to know each other, and seeing her continue to post on there just wrecks my mood every time it happens. it's worse because kat's posting style tends to highlight both her silly, goofy side and her more extreme, negative emotions. the picture i'd had of her from reading her posts for months made me think that she wouldn't like me when she met me, and i never imagined us being a couple or falling in love. now, when i read the things she says, i'm aware that it's not a true expression of how she feels, but often things that are said jokingly still really upset me. i know she had the same problem dealing with my posts in the wake of our breakup, as i was right back to flirting with a lot of different girls on the site. we both continued to try and hang out on the board and be cool with each other, but i'm sure it was hard for her just like it was for me. in the end, i know that once we broke up she didn't want me to feel like i needed to leave the board because of her. i of course felt the same way. but at this point it seems like she's better able to deal with it all, so i decided to bow out. it's hard, because i'm pretty used to using makeoutclub to fill up the time when i'm bored at work, but i'm sure it'll be easy for me to find other things to do. if nothing else i'll get more reading and writing done. and i know i'll be back on the site eventually, once i've calmed down and gotten over the worst of these feelings. but right now it's best for me to stay away.

in fact, i feel really stupid about the fact that posting on a message board affects my life enough that i had to write a paragraph based on how i feel about taking a hiatus from it. on the other hand, i never would have met kat without that message board, so obviously it DOES have a big effect on my life. why front like i'm not a huge internet nerd? we all know the truth where that's concerned. and since i'm going out and seeing shows as much as i have been lately, it's actually becoming less true. and that can't be anything but good. nothing AT ALL against kat, but i'd hope that the next person i date would be someone who lives close enough to me that i can see them on a regular basis. as i've said before, i can't help but feel like the distance between us hurt our relationship greatly. if we'd lived in the same town, it may still have fallen apart, but i doubt it would have been in nearly as dramatic and horrible of a fashion.

but i still wouldn't take back or change any of it, even if i could. i have no regrets.

well, that's where i stand at this point, as far as life is concerned. hopefully i will actually update this thing on a more regular basis in the coming weeks and months, but that always tends to be a "famous last words" sort of statement, so i guess we'll see what happens.

oh, and one more thing--though i haven't posted on my music blog in a month or so, i did do a few posts on there in the month of march that i never mentioned on here. i also am expecting a couple more things to show up there in the next week or so--something about the new queens of the stone age album, perhaps, or maybe a longer writeup about a bunch of emo/indie/pop records that i've been listening to lately. so yeah, check it.

current mood: oh, you know...

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Monday, February 28th, 2005
3:48 pm - snow day
leave it to a virginia winter to produce the most bullshit form of inclement weather possible. i could hear the snow and sleet pecking against my windows before i went to bed last night, but when i looked out the front door this morning, i found that although the wintry mix had covered cars and sidewalks with a slushy mess, it had been completely unsuccessful in sticking to the roads. sure enough, i was going to have to go to work today, but i was also going to have to spend 10 extra minutes clearing crap off my car so i could drive. i'm lucky in one respect, though--it's certainly better than the situation i would have faced a year ago, when i'd have had no choice but to ride my bike 10 miles each way in this mess. i guess life really does get better after a while.

speaking of which, i actually had a decent weekend. on saturday night, a local girl i know from makeoutclub but have never actually met was talking to me on aim and convinced me to go to a local basement show. she told me that battlemaster was playing, and i'd heard good things about their mix of metal and dungeons & dragons humor, but my first instinct nonetheless was to refuse to leave the house. i may have been bored and lonely, but the thought of going out was even scarier than resigning myself to my fate. however, she eventually talked me into going. i was worried that i wouldn't know anyone, but she told me to find her and she'd talk to me. of course, i needn't have worried. this is richmond--i've lived here for so long that i pretty much can't go to any social event without running into at least one or two people i know. it turned out, when i got to the show, that one of the other bands playing was are you fucking serious?!? (yes, that's really their name), who feature my friend johnny z. on drums. i walked in as they were starting their set and immediately ran into keith browne, mary griffin, timmy stewart, tim harris, and brendan trache. i don't know what i was worried about. i ended up also running into a local girl who i only know through livejournal, just because i recognized her from pictures she'd posted at various times. i didn't see the moc girl who had invited me to the show (her name is sara, by the way) until after are you fucking serious?!? was done with their set. she was being hit on by a drunken squatter kid who was making a botch of it, on the whole. we hung out and talked for a bit, but then some drama started between one of the drunken crust kids who lived at the house and a bunch of guys who'd been dancing around during ayfs?'s set. apparently the crusty kid was pissed that beer had been poured on him, but had been outnumbered by the kid with the beer's friends. he shut down the show in a fit of intoxicated petulance, and i never did get to see battlemaster--though i did get to meet their guitarist, who told me they'd be playing on april 20th at "the hollywood grill". this made me laugh, because when he told me where it was, it turned out to be the bar that was until recently known as the chuck wagon. back in 1997 and 98, i lived in a house directly across the street from that bar. it was the kind of crazy redneck beer joint where fights would spill out onto the street at 10 pm on a saturday night, and my roommates and i would look on with bemusement from our front porch. boy, oregon hill sure is getting gentrified these days.

earlier on saturday night, just before i left for the show, i got a phone call from eric. i had missed seeing him a few weeks before, when the opportunity to see kat the night before she moved to brooklyn had come up. eric's band was playing a show here in richmond that night. it's funny, i'd called to give him my last-minute regrets about not being able to attend and gotten a blast of noise, then disconnected. when i asked him about it, he told me that they'd been in-between songs when the phone rang, and he'd rubbed the phone against his guitar strings, which is what i'd heard. either way, he understood my reason for missing out on the show, and told me about their next one in town, sometime in late march (i think the 26th... i'll figure it out before the actual date). more importantly, he gave me the big news that he and his girlfriend are moving back to richmond around the end of 2005. he thinks the members of his band are coming with him, but what's really great is that he wants to play music with me again. this is of course the first thing i asked about. he said we'd have to get rian pupa and dave odell in on it, which sounds great to me. of course, that would mean that we had me and three guitarists, and even if i could be put in position to play bass and sing (and i have my doubts that i could keep up with eric) we'd still have to find a drummer. however, i don't think this is an impossible task, so there's a good chance that i'll be playing music again in a year or so. of course, i'm not pinning too much of my hopes on this, because it's better not to assume anything that's that far away is even close to definite. then again, i've been a lot more concerned with writing lately anyway, so it's not like i'm dying for this to work out. it's just something cool to look forward to. and if nothing else, it'll be nice to have one of several very good friends who've moved away from me in the last couple of years back in town and available to hang out with on a regular basis. i've really missed eric. now if rob deicide moved back, that would be perfect.

it's funny, now that things are finally pretty settled where kat and i are concerned (and this really only happened as of a couple days ago, but i'm not going to go into detail), i'm starting to notice that other girls are hitting on me. of course, this is only happening on the internet, but it's coming from several directions. it's a pleasant surprise and an ego boost, but in real terms i don't think i'm ready to move on. kat and i only officially broke up a little over a month ago, and i was still trying to preserve some level of a more-than-friends relationship until as recently as a week ago, so i think i'm still very much in rebound territory. i appreciate the attention from the other girls, and most of them are pretty awesome people that i hypothetically wouldn't mind having something with... but right now it just doesn't feel right. besides, even with kat the distance was a strain, and she was only one and a half to two hours away (er, when she wasn't living in london). the closest of these other girls is slightly over three hours away. i don't see any of this ever turning into anything serious. i could be wrong, but it's going to take some time if i am.

i have to admit, though, that i am surprised and pleased to be getting any sort of attention. sometimes i look at my life and i feel like i'm one of those older guys who spent so long struggling against the prevailing idea that he was the least cool person in whatever scene he was in that somehow, during all of those struggles, while i wasn't paying attention, i held on long enough to become a respected elder statesman of sorts. i've been seeing the effects of this in the hardcore scene since even before tri state killing spree broke up. i was discussing with sara the fact that i'd never met her before saturday, and she told me that she'd long known who i was from seeing me around, and specifically that she'd been at my band's last show. i told her that a lot of people i've met in the years since that show have had the exact same story, and it never fails to surprise me. but it's not just happening in hardcore. i always felt like all of the girls/women i knew were looking past me when i was younger, seeing guys that were more in the middle of things, more hip, or whatever. i was always alone, always getting turned down. but in the midst of all my being ignored by scenesters as well as girls, i just kept my head down and quietly worked on the things that were important to me. i've been finding that this paid off where my art was concerned for years, but only now am i starting to see that i've become someone that's appreciated for who i am where girls are concerned too. i used to think that i was a loser, that i was no one's type, that if i didn't die alone it would be out of pure luck. these days i'm realizing that the truth is that i am some people's type, and i do get attention in some places. i just had to grow into myself, and become confident that the things i did were right. now it's starting to sink in. things may very well be over forever with kat and i, and if they are then it's going to take a while before i make my peace with that and am ready to move on. but when i am ready, i feel confident that i will find my place in the world, and that i will find a person to share my life with. i am worthwhile, and other people can tell that.

of course, i'm still close enough to my troubles with trust, self-esteem, and confidence to worry that that entire previous paragraph is a huge display of hubris, so i don't want to belabor the point. i'd like to think that i can believe in myself without being cocky, and i hope i'm on the right side of the dividing line. but let's move on.

in fact, i should probably quit wasting work hours typing. i have a stack of boxes next to me that have been arriving throughout the day, none of which have been opened. i have paperwork to do and only a bit more than two hours left in the day in which to do it. i should really get moving. i thought i'd have a slow enough day to have plenty of time to do everything and still sit around and waste time a lot too, but on the contrary, i've had a steady stream of customers all day. guess i should go ahead and make sure that no one who comes in tomorrow can figure out just how much of the day i spent slacking off.

current mood: secure

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Saturday, February 26th, 2005
2:03 pm
did i promise to stop posting on here every time i wrote something on my music blog? i don't remember. either way, if i did or i didn't, assume that i'm not honoring that promise. i've actually written two things for that site in the last two weeks or so, and here are links to both of them.

the first one is about my chemical romance, and it's been up for like a week and a half.

the second one is about all else failed. i started that one on thursday night, and finished it this morning.

i've gotten tired of how little work i'm doing on writing. a friend suggested that i put a piece of paper on my wall with my goals written on it, but i've taken that idea and turned it into something even simpler. tonight, i will post a piece of paper on my wall with the words "WRITE EVERY DAY" in big bold capital letters on it. hopefully this reminder will help keep me on track.

current mood: uncertain

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Monday, February 21st, 2005
10:53 am
i haven't written in here in a while, but the reason is not because nothing has been happening in my life. what is really up is that nothing's been going on of note except for things with kat. yes, we broke up, and yes, i said a couple of weeks ago that while things had been changing back and forth a bunch, i figured they'd changed for the last time. well, that has turned out not to be the case. i felt bad thinking about writing about it all in here, because this is a public forum and she can and probably will read anything i write. i don't want to be hurtful. however, the longer things have gone on, the more that my feelings have built up inside me, and the more i have felt the need to write about them. i know i could very well have screened this entry, set up a friends group that would keep kat from seeing it, something like that, but that just felt dishonest and i didn't want to do it. i really don't like to friendslock my entries at all. i guess i crave attention and recognition, which is not necessarily the best of traits, but tends to come along with being a creative person.

so let's start with the strict facts of the situation. when i last mentioned this in my journal, on wednesday, february 2, i said that i thought things had changed for the last time. in the week between our breakup and that entry, kat and i had had conversations relating to our continual feelings for each other. i told her i wanted to stay friends, but that while i was ok with us talking on the phone, i didn't think we should be around her. she asked why that was a problem, and i explained how awkward i would feel being in her presence but unable to be physically affectionate, the way we had been as a couple. she was of the opinion that we could be that way, since we still loved each other, and since the real problems with our relationship had been things that only affected us in the long term. i was feeling weird about doing such a thing, which always seems like a good way for one or both people to get hurt, but after a few phone conversations, she talked me into it. now, she was supposed to move to brooklyn a week and a half after the breakup happened, but we made plans to see each other before she left. i was to go up there the night of february 1, and spend the night and the next day hanging out with her.

right before i left to go up there, i called her to see if we were still on for the whole thing, and she said she didn't think i should come after all. she'd thought about it and come to the same conclusion i originally had--i.e. that we shouldn't keep hooking up after we broke up, because someone would get hurt. of course, it was what i initially had thought, and i still thought it was true to some extent, but i had been all geared up to see her, cuddle with her, make out with her, have sex, etc. obviously i was disappointed. the next day i spent most of my day off sitting around my house being bummed out. instead of being up in northern va with her, here i was by myself in richmond. it sucked.

at that point, i thought i wasn't going to hear from her for a while, because she'd basically said we shouldn't talk for a while so we could start getting over each other. this was the assumption under which i wrote that journal entry on wednesday morning. we sent a couple of emails back and forth over the next day or so, but i thought that would be the extent of things. however, then she emailed me thursday night, saying that she had changed her mind and did want to see me. she was leaving to move to new york on saturday morning, but she asked me to drive up friday night and hang out with her after i got off work. so i said fuck it and i did just that. of course, we were only together for about 10 hours, but we probably spent 6 of it having sex. it was nice, but i ended up getting very little sleep and having to drive back down to richmond and work all day saturday. whatever, it was worth it.

since then, we've kinda been in limbo. that visit was supposed to give us closure of some sort, but instead i think what it did was remind us of all the reasons we DID like to be together. it's funny, because a lot of the problems we were having back when we were being serious about each other and she was supposed to move to the same town as me and we were discussing getting engaged have totally faded away now that there isn't any expectation of a future. but that just makes it harder to know what to do, because you figure something like that would only come back if we did get back together, so even though we're happy when we're with each other now, it doesn't necessarily follow that we would still be if we tried to be a real couple again.

she and i had been talking pretty regularly on the phone since she went up to new york, and we were both talking about how we missed each other. then with valentine's day approaching, we had a conversation about how sad it was that we'd broken up right before it. that conversation was last wednesday. apparently she had a lot of trouble sleeping that night, and stayed up really late thinking about me and how much she loved me. then we talked thursday afternoon, and she'd just woken up after maybe 3 hours of sleep with the idea that she should take a train down from new york and spend valentine's day with me. of course, i was totally into this idea, and encouraged her to do so.

so saturday after work i went over to the train station and picked her up, and we spent saturday night, sunday, monday, and tuesday morning together. on monday, which was valentine's day, i had to work all day, but she hung out with me at my work for part of it (which is easy to do, since i work at a bookstore and am usually just sitting around waiting to ring people up). for a couple hours of that, she walked over to plan 9 (the local hip record store) and went nuts going through their used vinyl. i was with her for the first 30 or so minutes of that, but i had to get back to the store before she was done. she ended up buying a ton of awesome records. we went out to dinner after i got off work, which was really cute--we even shared a milkshake, like something out of some 50s movie--and then went back to my house, where we laid in my bed and cuddled for hours. we listened to a soul compilation that she had bought at plan 9 while we did, and it was incredibly romantic.

the next day, she had to head back to new york on the train, but before she left, we went shopping together. i needed new shoes, and she helped me pick out two pairs that i really liked. we had planned to spend $130, but even with a pack of 6 pairs of socks, my total cost was only $80. that ruled. then we went to eddie bauer and both of us tried on clothes. i didn't have any money to spare on buying things, but kat said she'd buy me anything i liked. i ended up getting 3 shirts, a sweater, and two pairs of jeans. i'm sure she spent at least $200 on me, which i felt sorta bad about, but really just appreciated a whole lot. she pretty much had to leave as soon as we were done with the shopping, and we were really sorry to have to part. it was sad, but i was glad that we had had such a great time. valentine's day is always a pretty depressing holiday, but at least this time i'd had someone to spend it with, someone to make it feel special.

now, we had had one somewhat sad conversation while she was here, which was really the only time things weren't totally fun and great. i'm not sure how it came up but we had gotten to talking about what was going on with us--how we had broken up, but were still acting to some extent like we were together. she said she didn't feel like anything was actually different. i could see her point, but i eventually had to tell her that i felt like a lot of what was keeping us from separating more was on her end. i was trying to give her space, but she continued to call me on at least a daily basis, if not more frequently. i liked hearing from her, and if talking to me was what she wanted to do, i would never object, but i couldn't help but feel like she was keeping the situation from changing as much as she wanted it to. i told her that i felt like things were ok the way they were, but she said that she felt like it was very unlikely that we'd ever really be together again. this made me sad, in part because it's just something i don't like to think about, and in part because i think i'm a good bit more optimistic about our future chances than she is. at any rate, the conversation trailed off soon after, as neither of us were enjoying it much.

when kat left on tuesday, we were feeling much better, but i still remembered this conversation and wondered in the back of my mind whether she would start calling a bit less frequently. if so, i understood and would be ok with it--she had to do what was necessary to feel ok about things. at first, though, it didn't seem like that would happen. we talked on the phone a bunch in the next few days, and she was being very affectionate and sweet. it was nice, even if it was unexpected. we talked some about my coming and visiting her the first weekend in april, and about how it was a shame that it would be so long before we saw each other again. on friday night, she seemed to be missing me particularly badly, and sent me several cute email messages. however, other than a mass email on saturday afternoon letting people know about her new phone number, i haven't heard from her since. i could try to tell myself that it doesn't necessarily mean anything, but i know how kat is. when her behavior patterns change suddenly, it indicates that she's changed her mind about something, and chosen to act differently. not hearing from her makes me worry that when i do hear from her, it will be a depressing conversation. in a lot of ways, this cuts to the heart of the reasons i had for feeling like our relationship wasn't working for me. i don't think her feelings change, but she's often re-evaluating how she should respond to them and handle the situations they put her in. i understand this and don't begrudge her the frequent changes of mind--under the circumstances, i think they're pretty understandable. however, it's hard to deal with in the context of a relationship, and really puts a strain on things. i'd like to say it's easier now that we've broken up to deal with it all, but if it is, it's only marginally so. after all, no matter what our official status is, i'm still in love with her. what makes the whole thing even harder is the fact that it usually happens the way it's happening this time, too. it generally takes several days before she contacts me and tells me what she's actually thinking, and in the meantime i go from receiving pleasant phone calls pretty frequently to not hearing anything at all. it's the not knowing that kills me. no matter how depressed i feel about whatever her decision might be, not knowing what it's going to be is always even more depressing. i don't think kat leaves me hanging on stuff like this on purpose, either, and that's even sadder. i think in the end, she's just doing the best she can to work it all out in her head, and sometimes doing what's best for her might not be all that good for me. but really, that's life.

what i find especially ironic about the whole situation is that in a lot of ways, us breaking up seems to have fixed the relationship. we were fighting pretty regularly towards the end of the relationship, and we haven't really fought at all since we broke up. sure, dramatic things happen now, but they're generally just because of things that i described in the last paragraph--constant re-evaluations of how we should be acting towards each other, considering that we're broken up. we discuss this stuff, sometimes very emotionally, but we never fight about it. also, i feel like some of the tension that was in the air when we'd be together towards the end of our relationship is gone now too. we're a lot more comfortable with each other.

the fact that all of that is true makes me glad that kat moved to new york instead of richmond. i think if she'd stayed here, and we could see each other every day, the temptation would be too great to act like a couple all the time, to get back together before we were ready, and probably to do a lot of things that would eventually add up to us hating each other. i don't think we should be in a serious relationship right now. i mentioned above some of the issues that kat has that cause it to be hard for me to be in a relationship with her. interestingly enough, another one of the issues that i had has also been solved by our breakup. before, while we were together, i often felt like i couldn't turn to her for any kind of emotional support without her feeling like i was putting pressure on her to fix things, to fix me. this would lead her to withdraw from me, which would make me feel even more fragile, which would lead to me being even clingier, which would only push her away further. since i am no longer her boyfriend, she has not felt any of the pressure that used to push her away since we broke up. we've had several conversations in which she has really made me feel a lot better in the time since we broke up, and this is really nice. but once again, it's no indication that we could actually get back together--i feel like the problems would just come up again.

in the end, i am more optimistic about our future prospects than kat is. i don't find it to be probable that we won't ever be together again--i just feel like we need a couple of years in which to live our lives, to grow and change and evolve as people. and sure, i've pointed out a couple of things that she does or did that were problems for me in the relationship, but there's a lot of stuff that i need to do too. i feel like my biggest problem is that i am not responsible enough. this isn't true in all areas of my life--i actually do get a decent amount of things done, and i certainly make sure that my rent and bills get paid every month. however, the fact is that my current lifestyle has no future. i could certainly keep living like this forever, but the best-case scenario there would just be that my store would survive and i'd keep making just enough money to afford a tiny apartment, car insurance, and a few cds and books every month. when my relationship with kat came along, and i fell quickly and deeply in love with her, i wasn't prepared for all that would entail. we talked about the things we wanted out of our life together, and about getting married and what that would mean for our lives, and kat figured out something that i'm only now realizing--the way i've chosen to live, i couldn't do the things that such a serious commitment would require of me.

it's easy for me to say that my lifestyle and my job were chosen as ways to allow myself to live a more creative life. back when i was in a band, it might even have been somewhat true. but these days, even though i justify it all by saying that i plan to use the spare time and energy given to me by having such an easy job to put into my writing, the truth is that i mostly just like having an easy job. i hardly ever work on my writing at all, if we're to be honest about it. and when i come up with plans about trying to make writing an auxiliary means of support, i don't follow through with them. granted, extenuating circumstances in the form of kat's visit shot my feb. 15 deadline to hell, but even now when she's been gone for almost a week, i still haven't done any more work on that particular assignment. i need to learn to do the work. i need to stop being so lazy. otherwise, i may as well go out and get some job that will pay me more but suck all my creativity out of my mind every day. after all, what good is it if i'm not using it for anything?

this whole responsibility vs. laziness dichotomy shows up in other areas of my life, as well. i have been thinking a lot more about what i need to do to take care of myself physically since kat came into my life, but it's really something that i've always wanted to do, and seen myself as needing to do. the same is true of the fact that she's encouraged me to dress nicer. in fact, one thing she pointed out to me when she was in town last week was that i could still wear jeans and t-shirts all the time if i wanted to, but if i had newer clothes that weren't faded or full of holes, i would look a lot better even if i didn't change my style at all. and this may sound like more of that whole "this woman is trying to change me" thing, but i have to admit that i've long felt like i should see about getting some new clothes. i think i would enjoy dressing better. it's just that once again i was too goddamn LAZY to bother with it. in the end, i'd rather go spend the money at the record store or the book store than sacrifice my ability to spend a lot of money on fun stuff in order to improve my lot in life.

these and other things are things i mean when i say i need to be more responsible. and it'd be easy to say that i'm really just telling myself that i need to do these things so that a girl will like me. but really, even if it was the love of a wonderful woman who got me started on thinking about all of this, i need to do it for myself. if i take better care of myself and have nicer stuff to wear, i'll feel better about myself and how i look when i go out in public. if i work harder on my writing, i'll at least feel like i'm trying to follow my dreams, even if it doesn't quite work out the way i want it to. if i carry on the way things are going, i'll never know if i could have found happiness on a more permanent level than the temporary pleasure brought to me by my constant splurging on books and cds. that's what i mean when i say that i want to be responsible--i want to be aware of short term sacrifices that i can and should make in order to make my life better in the long term. i feel like i had some real understanding of this back when i was younger and in a band--i sacrificed a lot of things just to be able to work as hard and put as much into my band as i did. these days, though, without the band there to require all my excess time, money, and energy, i've just gotten lazy. i see myself as a creative person, and i want to live a creative life. but if i am actually going to, i need to take responsibility for the decisions i make in order to get myself there. and maybe the things i do won't be things that ultimately make kat happy. maybe she'll look at where i'm at with my life in three years and say, "i'm glad you're happy, and i can tell that you worked hard to get where you are, but our paths are just too divergent, and i still don't think i could ever be with you again." but if that happens, i will at least have done things to improve my own life, and i'll be happy. and in some ways, i'll owe it all to her.

i feel like my spirituality is another issue that i want to work on and deal with before i consider whether or not kat and i should be together. see, she's a devout catholic, and i totally respect that, but it's hard for me to figure out what i actually believe when i'm so close to her. she admitted that herself when we broke up, saying that she didn't want me to feel like i had to compromise what i was actually feeling as i learned about it all with what she felt was right. i feel like there's a possibility that we could be together again, even if our religious beliefs turn out to be different. but right now, i'm still very much sorting out what i actually believe. for years, i completely neglected this side of myself. i had inconsistent beliefs--i was constantly seeking true love and transcendent beauty in the world, but professing atheism, even though if you really pushed me i had to admit that i couldn't know anything for sure about the nature of god. it was kat who pointed out some of the inconsistencies in my thinking and got me to actually reconsider all of this stuff. i really appreciate that she did this, but i agree with her that i wouldn't want her own beliefs to influence my search for my own personal truth.

it's funny--a lot of times when you tell people about relationships with uncertain futures, they say things like "if it's meant to be, it'll work out." i even hear this from agnostics and atheists. it's a weird concept to me, and even though it's a comforting thought at times to consider the possibility that kat and i still have feelings for each other despite everything else that has gone down and everything we feel is a problem for us because we are "meant to be", i don't know how much i believe in such a thing. more to the point, i'm not sure it matters. i may not know all that much about what i believe where spiritual matters are concerned, but one thing i do believe in is the free will of human beings. i'm no calvinist--i can't imagine that our lives are predestined, that everything has been written out beforehand and that we're powerless to change what happens, that choice is an illusion and that the hand of god has set our paths before us starting before we were even born. my point by stating all of this is to say that even if something is "meant to be", i as a human being have been given the free will to ignore that thing and make a completely different choice. so this leaves me with a question--how will i ever know if kat and i are "meant to be"? what if we are, and one or both of us still makes the decision not to be together? will it matter that we were "meant to be"? maybe we'll come to regret the decision, and the whole thing will end like "cyrano de bergerac", but tragedies are no fun when you're living them. so then... where do we go from here?

kat said something to me the night i went to see her at her parents' house, right before she left for brooklyn, that has stuck with me. i started to get all philosophical about our relationship, and what our being together that night meant, and she stopped me. she said, "you think about it too much. just let it be, live through it. see what happens when it happens." i'm not sure if i got the wording exactly right, but it was something like that. since then, i've been trying to do that. i've been trying to enjoy the time we're living in now, and to stop attempting to plan out the future. at this point, i know that our feelings will either fade over time, or stay present and maybe even grow stronger. which way it goes will affect what happens, obviously, but there's plenty of time for us to figure that all out.

but one thing is staying in my mind right now. last week, not long before she came down to see me, kat told me that she'd gotten me valentine's day presents. i felt bad, because all i'd been able to afford for her was a card, but what she had done was really nice. she knew that there was a defunct australian band called glide that i love, and that i had never been able to find their cds in the us or even in london when we were there. so she had gone on the internet, found a used-cd website, and ordered two of their albums and two of their eps for me. some of them even had to come from australia. they've been showing up in the mail one or two at a time over the last week, and i've really been enjoying them. this has got to be one of the most thoughtful gifts anyone's ever gotten for me. it made me really happy to feel like she paid enough attention to my interests to know how much i'd appreciate these cds. sure, it's just a few random little things, but it shows that she cares about me, and that she listens. no matter what her reasons for not being in contact over the last few days, and no matter what sort of decisions she may have come to in that time about whether or not we can still be in contact, i know that kat loves me, just as i love her. and maybe it's foolish to allow it to happen, but that knowledge gives me hope.

current mood: obvious?

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Tuesday, February 8th, 2005
5:44 pm - photos and deadlines
first of all, here are the pictures i took when i saw the pixies on dec. 6th. this time i actually got a cd of the photos right after we got back from the show, and was just lazy and didn't get around to putting them online til now. out of 60 pics i took, i liked 26 enough to post. i hope you guys don't get bored with all these images, but like, i guess if you do they're easy to scroll past.

pixiesCollapse )

in other news, i've decided that i might do better with making myself write if i go ahead and impose deadlines. right now the only two i have imposed are:

1) i should pick out 5 of my old writings about music, edit and clean them up, write 300 or so word versions of each one, print out copies of both versions of all 5 of them and mail them out to spin magazine by the 15th of this month.

2) that i should have a finalized second draft of my novel, including whatever additions, subtractions, and revisions i want done to it, by july 1st.

of course, i have made NO progress as of now on either of these, but i may get some work done on the first tomorrow, since i have the day off. i hope so: i really don't want to find myself burning the midnight oil at any point due to a deadline i've imposed on myself. i guess we'll see. if nothing else, this will hopefully increase my productivity. by the way, i also want to do a music blog entry this week, but i haven't decided yet whether it will be the long-promised entry on all else failed, commentary on the most recent my chemical romance album, or some other thing i haven't thought of yet. so i doubt that entry will be showing up in the next few hours or anything. maybe that will also come along tomorrow... or maybe i'll just sit around doing nothing all day, like i usually do on my days off. whatever.

take care, everyone.

current mood: oh, you know, whatever.

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