Category Archives: i used to be so cool

Eight Years in NYC

Filed under i used to be so cool, living in new york is neat, living in new york sucks so hard, no i really do love ohio
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I was reading my old LiveJournal last night at 3 a.m. (narcissism!) and found this post from the end of my first year living here, when the boyfriend I had followed here from Ohio was moving back home and I was changing my mind daily about whether or not I would stay behind:



A year and a half ago, when my Best Friend 4 Eva™, Tracey, realized that her 1st year of teaching junior high was actually sucking pretty hardcore, she started talking to other teachers about how she was feeling. They tried to console her by saying things like, “It’ll take you about five years to get used to it, but after that, you’ll be fine.” And she kept thinking, “Why would I spend five years just trying to get used to something when I could be doing something I like right now?”

And so she quit. I’ve decided that’s how I feel about New York. Don’t get me wrong–I’m happy here. Some days, I’m happier here than I ever was back in Ohio. But for the most part, it seems like most of the people I’ve met here moved to NYC because they wanted to escape their old lives. They didn’t know anyone who thought like they did or all of their friends had grown up and gotten married or they’re introverts who want to be nameless and blend in. And that’s not me.

This year hasn’t been wasted for me at all. I got to experience a million things I wouldn’t have in Ohio, and some days I felt so alive that I thought I might burst. But it drives me crazy the things I’ve missed at home. Now that Tracey’s only working part-time, she has free time like she hasn’t had since we were in high school. And since she’s doing things that she loves, she’s a completely different person. She’s not dating her boyfriend-who-didn’t-like-me, so she’s going out and talking to boys, and I’m missing it. My friend-since-we-were-born Katie just got married to a boy I set her up with, and I missed her bridal shower and bachelorette party because I had to save my money to make it home for the wedding itself. My grandfather found out he has cancer last month and despite getting treatment in Mexico will probably die before I’m able to see him.

Sometimes I’m amazed at the number of people I’ve gotten to know here and will miss if I leave. On Friday, when I was 1000% percent sure I was moving back home, two of my co-workers came into the kitchen where I was making a warm beverage with the ridiculously awesome tea/coffee/hot chocolate machine and started talking to me about all of the reasons it’d suck to be blind when using the subway. I said, “Hey, guys, let’s agree not to become blind, okay?”, and one of the girls said faux-enthusiastically, “That’s a great idea!” And I loved her. And I thought, “If I leave, I’ll never have the chance to get to know this girl.” But it’s very obvious to me that I’ll never replace Tracey. And as much as I like my new job, its not like my old job at the library, and I don’t want to be a receptionist for the rest of my life. I know that eventually, all of my friends from home are going to be all settled in with real jobs and spouses and babies, and then they’ll be dead to me. That’s when I’ll make my escape to NYC. That’s when I’ll be ready to make new friends and sit in jazz clubs alone and spend two bazillion dollars on a one-room apartment.

People keep trying to console me by saying things like, “It’ll take you about five years to get used to it, but after that, you’ll be fine.” But I’m not sure that I’m willing to spend five years trying to build a life for myself here when I’ve already got a great one back home.



And now I’ve been here for more than eight years. And I have a hard time imagining living anywhere else.

Damien Jurado and the Greatness of Growing Up

Filed under i used to be so cool, living in new york is neat, music is my boyfriend, no i really do love ohio
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It’s funny, growing up. When I was a wee lass of 18 at college in Columbus, freshly released from my dad’s worries about my venturing into strange neighborhoods in the big city, I’d buy show tickets months in advance. I’d skip classes to be one of the first in line. I’d be happy leaning against the stage for hours waiting for my band to appear. I didn’t mind suffering through three or four terrible local openers, and I didn’t mind waiting around in the rain and the stink of a back alley to talk to the band afterward. If I couldn’t find someone who wanted to do these things with me, I’d go alone. I saw my favourite band more than 50 times between 2000 and 2005, but that number doesn’t even begin to elucidate the sheer amount of shows I saw as a whole.

I know that I’m old because none of that interests me anymore. I don’t want to sit in a car for fourteen hours straight just to see one of my bands open for someone else in places like Georgia and South Carolina. I don’t want to stand around and listen to a band for three hours anymore, let alone the three hours before the show starts when everyone’s pushing to get to the front and I can’t drink anything lest I have to pee and the club’s playing some unknown crap over the speaker system that’s not even in the same genre of the band I’m there to see.

So last night was perfect. I went home after work, watched my “Criminal Minds”, and then took the bus down to the Mercury Lounge in the Lower East Side to see one of my long-time favourites, Damien Jurado.

Kamran met me there at 9:15, and we pushed ourselves against the wall the best we could for the 15 minutes until the doors opened. The bar area is basically just a long hallway, so everyone was touching everyone else, and there was nowhere to escape and nothing to do, and all I could think about was how miserable I would’ve been had I been there alone. The show started soon after, and we were right in front, and we hadn’t been waiting around for three hours, and we were happy.

Damien Jurado, Mercury Lounge, NYC

Damien is just sort of an amazing guy. He sings these incredibly sad songs, and he comes off as so thoughtful, but there are these moments where he’ll say something so bashfully joyful that it kind of makes you wonder if his whole songwriter persona is a put-on. Last night, he told us about sitting next to a girl on a plane who was listening to music; at first, it was David Bowie, but then suddenly something even more familiar came on, and he realized it was his own song. She sat there listening to his entire album and had no idea she was sitting beside him. I just love thinking about how that must have felt.

He was wearing his Seattle uniform of flannel shirt, lumberjack jeans, and moccasins. The woman doing his backing vocals, Melodie Knight from Campfire OK, was wearing black leggings, a black tunic, a black shawl, black strappy wedges, and a black bowler hat. I said, “I think she’s dressed the way she thought New Yorkers would be dressed.” Kamran said, “I think that’s how they dress in Seattle.” I said, “That’s how they dressed in New York in the 80s.” Kamran said, “That’s how they dressed in Seattle in the 90s.” So then it made sense.

I know I won’t be able to explain how good Damien is with dynamics, the way he can have an audience straining to hear him one moment and how he can fill an entire room with just an acoustic guitar the next, and how something as simple as a foot tap can change an entire song, so I’ll just link you to some songs instead.

Here’s my favourite recent song of his:

Here’s my favourite song of his of all time:

And here’s the song that made me cry last night, because it’s so clearly written about me:

I would wonder why a man from Seattle has multiple songs about Ohio, but it just seems so obvious why.

The Strange Places Your Favourite 1998 Rockstar Shows Up

Filed under a taste for tv, i used to be so cool, music is my boyfriend
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Kamran’s DVR has been 97% full for weeks now thanks to all of the “Criminal Minds” I’ve been recording from multiple channels, so I try to knock an episode or two or five out whenever I can. This morning while I was getting ready, I pulled up one with an intriguing synopsis about murders coinciding with a rock star’s tour schedule.

It started out with a band covering Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, one of the best songs ever, and I thought, “Hey, this is actually pretty good.” The lead singer’s Robert-Smith-esque white face and red lips were a bit copycat-ish for my taste, but his performance was so confident and real-rock-star-like that I couldn’t help but want to see more.

I thought, “How great must it be for this local band to get a break like this?” I thought, “This must be the greatest moment of their lives.”

And then I thought, “Wait, is that Gavin Rossdale?”

Now that I watch it again, it’s so obviously his voice. His perfect, perfect voice. So instead of it being some local band trying to catch a break, it’s actually a completely washed-out former rockstar now relegated to a TV crime drama.

And I couldn’t be happier! Now if only Daniel Johns from silverchair and Matthew Caws from Nada Surf would do episodes of “Law & Order” and “Burn Notice”, my high school lead singer crush trifecta would be complete.

Those Happy Golden Years

Filed under creepy boyfriend obsession, i used to be so cool, living in new york is neat
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Remember the days before Kamran actually cared about law school and before he was studying for the bar exam when we used to leave the house on a whim to do things like go to the novelty Dave & Buster’s in Times Square and win a bazillion tickets

Dave & Buster's NYC

on the Wheel of Fortune game

Dave & Buster's NYC

and not spend them on anything at all because our love was all we needed?

Dave & Buster's NYC

No, me neither.

Juuuuust kidding. But Kamran’s staying late at school for the next two weeks to study for this darn test so I don’t distract him with my feminine wiles and my unfortunate sudden interest in television cop dramas, and I feel whiny.

Music and the Early Days of the Internet

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This morning, my best friend, Tracey, sent me this:


click to enlarge

Can you imagine all the sob stories we’ll tell our children when it comes to music pre-Internet? Like how for years, I thought the lyrics to The Bellamy Brothers’ “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body” were “if I said you had a beautiful bonnet, would you hold it against me?”, and I wondered why anyone would be offended by a friendly hat-related compliment.

And what about music not pre-Internet but pre-AWESOME-Internet? I remember hearing The Connells’ “’74-’75″ on the radio in high school and thinking it was mind-blowing, but of course Google didn’t exist then, so I couldn’t find the song using the three or four words I knew. I had to actually call the radio station to ask.

And even better, when Tracey and I were in high school, Bush’s album Razorblade Suitcase came out, and we were dying to know the lyrics to “Insect Kin“, so we taped their “Saturday Night Live” performance on her VCR and sat watching and pausing, watching and pausing, writing down the lyrics from the closed captioning. AMAZING.

It’s funny how looking back, that seems so romantic. It seems like music really mattered back then, because bands actually had to have a whole album’s worth of material before they were allowed to record one, and we actually had to buy that music–or record it with our VCRs–to hear the song we liked whenever we wanted to.

I’m not really complaining, because I love being able to call that Justin Bieber song up on MySpace whenever I want to and not feel bad about it because I’m not contributing any money to his freaky fame, but still.