Life at an Intersection

Chicago Phoenix, indemnity bonds, journaling, really really really want a zigazig ah, travel, books, travel books, relationships, values. It is hard to pinpoint precisely, but I'd say about 82% of what you read here is true. The rest is fictional nonfiction.

Saturday, January 22, 2011



I have things to say, so many things. This past week I have thought of so many things to say here, so many things to write on postcards and mail to Frank at PostSecret, so many thank you notes and emails to compose to so many people. Sometimes there's something like a stirring in my...mind? heart? pituitary gland?...that makes me want to write. I've forgotten many of these writing impulses as the days have rushed on by, most of them probably lost to the ether. But maybe I'll remember some of them as I type this.


I won a scholarship from my school this week. I got the email while I was in the frozen foods aisle of the grocery store at 5 pm Friday evening in my sweaty gym clothes. I was so excited that I punched a Boca burger in the face. It feels nice to earn some money for the first time in about eight months.


I like being normal. I aspire to normality. Not in the average, plain, or nondescript sense, but in the mainstream, natural, balanced sense. (Yes, I used a thesaurus for this. Go ahead and judge me.) Someone recently tried to make me feel very abnormal. This person used words as weapons against me and tried to make me feel that, because of my sexual orientation, I am bad, evil, deviant, less-than, other. This person tried to make me feel extremely abnormal.

It did not work.

I'm a confident guy. This is helpful in job interviews, class presentations and when driving. This is a detriment when playing football, buying used cars, or pretending that I know what someone is talking about when I really have no idea. In this particular confrontation, my confidence served me well.

But this whole episode really made me reflect on the experience of others, other people who are different, people who have more trouble fitting in and feeling normal that I do. Made me reflect on the ways that people harm and destroy each other. Thank God, there's been such a big movement lately towards affirmation and honesty and protecting vulnerable people from bullies, intimidation, and discrimination. Organizations like the It Gets Better Project are making a huge difference, media are recognizing the stories of gay and lesbian youngsters and the difficulties that they face at home, at school, and at church. Hate speech is being called out, and groups that actively work to undermine equal rights and enshrine their own narrow ideas of faith, family, and freedom are being exposed for the hacks that they are.

I wonder, though, what an incident like this would have done to me in an earlier, more vulnerable time in my life. We've seen so many stories over the last few months of kids who commit suicide because of peer and internet bullying, because of family pressures and hateful words. Kids kill themselves because of other people's words. I see kids at school every day who have been wounded by words and actions, by their family dysfunctions, by their parents and family members and teachers and classmates and community. I want to protect them, I want to help them rise above and achieve because of and regardless of these hurdles. This is part of my calling.

Thank you, person who tried to hurt me, for reaffirming this for me and helping to strengthen my resolve.


It is 70 degrees here. Every day. Why doesn't everyone live here? This not-living-here, this is a form of madness.


In terms of frequency and magnitude, I may be having more fun at this time in my life than ever before. My friends here - mostly my classmates and their significant others - are the most remarkable group. They make every class day, every weekend, every event and gathering a riot.

We have crazy fun, and thankfully most of the picture proof on Facebook is locked away behind "Friends Only" barriers. Our first professor this past summer, our technology teacher, warned us about this.


I've noticed a law of diminishing returns in regards to my dating life here in Phoenix. Which is to say, every guy I go out with is a bigger bum than the last.

No, not really a bum. Just not for me. Actually this last guy that I saw for a couple of dates, I came to the conclusion that we actually had too much in common. All the things that I usually say on a date, the things that are supposed to make me unique and memorable, he said them. We have all this geography and perspective and academic history in common, and it just weirds me out. We even kind of look a bit alike. Maybe I'm expected to be into that, you know, since homosexuality is really just a narcissistic personality disorder, but I'm not.


I miss this one TV show (as in yearn for and feel sentimental feelings towards, not as in fail to watch) like pretty much every Sunday night. That's a fairly embarrassing thing to admit all in its own right, so I'm not going to do myself the further embarrassment of telling you what cringe-worthy show it actually is. Suffice it to say that it no longer comes on, and that I wish it did. It had really interesting, complex characters and outlandish soap operatic plotlines. I was a big, fat fanboy.

But when I think about it, I guess I'm not really missing the show as much as I am missing a specific time in my life. I was much younger, I was in the midst of my first really fulfilling and enjoyable job experience, I was living on my own and managing to have a pretty cool little Chattanooga futon-in-my-apartment life. It was all very just-barely post-collegiate and innocent. It was a very good time in my life, and I shared it with some fictional TV friends.


Oh, but this is a very good time in my life too, and I'm sharing it with some extraordinarily sweet, hilarious real-life friends.

Here are a few of those people, and a few of those photos that you maybe can't see on Facebook.









Thanks to Liza, Kati, Michelle, and Roxi for the photos.

Currently Listening to
The King is Dead by the Decemberists and

Last Night I Watched
The Town with Ben Affleck and it was phenomenally good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Year in Music, 2010 - Part II


My other musical obsession this year, and my pick for best album of the year, was Miranda Lambert's Revolution. My computer, my mp3 player, and probably my roommate can all attest to the fact that this record never got much of a rest, that I kept going back to it again and again, sometimes just listening to it multiple times in a row. If country is the new pop, I really think that Miranda Lambert's dirtier, grittier, catchier, more honest version of country is the new rock. I love the way that she can be the Southern trailer park princess who sings to her prissy rival, "I don't have to be hateful / I can just say 'Bless your heart' ... We're just like you / only prettier," and just as easily slip into a soft love song like "Makin' Plans" or rock out on John Prine's hilariously absurd "That's the Way that the World Goes 'Round." Miranda Lambert is fantastic, the kind of tough, scrappy girl that you want on your side in a bar fight, with the kind of uniquely wonderful and versatile voice that you would want singing at both your wedding and your wake.

Other albums that I really enjoyed this year included:
Arcade Fire's The Suburbs
The National's High Violet
MGMT's Oracular Spectacular
Dierks Bentley's Feel That Fire
The Soundtrack from 500 Days of Summer
A Fine Frenzy's One Cell in the Sea
fun.'s Aim and Ignite
Vampire Weekend's Contra
David Bazan's Curse Your Branches

Besides the most excellent Sufjan Stevens concert, I got to see a few other cool shows and acts this year: The Weepies were a huge highlight at a small, intimate Phoenix venue called Rhythm Room, Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum were great together earlier this summer out in Glendale, and seeing the musical version of Billy Elliot on stage just before I left Chicago was awesome.


And of course, how wildly remiss I would be if I didn't give a big time hat tip to Glee for making my year extra-specially musical. I've listened to many of the songs from the first season repeatedly this year, and the Finn and Rachel duets of "Faithfully" from the season finale and "Borderline/Open Your Heart" from the Madonna episode are probably my favorite stand-alone songs of the year. I haven't found the songs from season 2 to be quite as catchy, memorable, or worthy of my attention, but hopefully that's just a little sophomore slump.

Currently Listening to
Carlos Baute & Marta Sanchez, "Colgando en tus Manos"

Year in Music, 2010 - Part I


2010 was a great music year for me, one of the best that I can remember. That primarily has to do with Sufjan Stevens.


Seeing him in concert here in Phoenix back in October was one of the highlights of my year. I snatched up some prime sixth row seats during the pre-sale back in August and then spent the next two months eagerly anticipating my first Sufjan live show. It did not disappoint. It really was a most transcendent concert experience.


Sufjan released two albums this year, both consuming a great part of the second half of my musical year: the All Delighted People EP was a surprise August release and his full-length Royal Robertson-inspired concept album about love, art, and the apocalypse The Age of Adz came out in October. I also spent a great deal of time earlier in the year listening to Michigan and Seven Swans. And of course, now that it is holiday time, Songs for Christmas is in heavy rotation in my media player.


My year in music belongs to Sufjan Stevens. He is a provocative, challenging, intellectual artist; his lyrics and melodies prod, enlighten, and inspire.

Now turn off all of your lights and watch this video in HD full screen.

Currently Listening to
"Impossible Soul" by Sufjan Stevens

It's a long life, better pinch yourself
Get your face together, better roll along
It's a long life, better pinch yourself
Put your face together, better stand up straight
It's a long life only one last chance
Couldn't get much better, do you wanna dance?
It's a good life, better pinch yourself
Is it impossible? Is it impossible?
Boy, we can do much more together
(Better get it right, get it right, get it right, get it right)
Boy, we can do much more together
(Better get a life, get a life, get a life, get a life)

Boy we can do much more together, it's not so impossible
It's not so impossible

It's a long life, better pinch yourself
Put your face together, better get it right
It's a long life, better hit yourself
Put your face together, better stand up straight
In the wrong life, everything is chance
Does it register? Do you wanna dance?
In the right life, it's a miracle
Possibility, do you wanna dance?

Saturday, October 16, 2010



One night during my life in Asia I was heading home from a night market after getting some dinner or doing a little shopping, maybe meeting up with a friend or two, I don't remember exactly. But I was on my way back to the apartment, driving my scooter, waiting at a stoplight, and a guy pulled up beside me on the tiniest little red motorcycle that I had ever seen. And then the light changed, and he drove away. He drove away really quickly too. Like his tiny little ridiculous motorcycle had way more juice than my 150 horsepower Yamaha bike. It was one the best, funniest, most random moments of my life, but I had forgotten about it until tonight.

Tonight, when I was watching one of those old Jackass movies and there was a setup where a bunch of those guys drove these tiny motorcycles all over a grocery store and were wiping out and startling customers and crashing into shelves and each other.

Such a fun memory. Thanks, jackasses.

Currently Listening to
All the Roadrunning by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris

Sunday, September 26, 2010



I remember a time when I used to come to this blog to write sad things.

No wait, let me go further back. Farther back? Let me go back.

I remember a time when I used to not feel much. I was a pretty numb person. A guy in the midst of a life defined, perhaps, shall we say, by a general malaise. Which is to not say much at all except that there wasn't much to say. It was a life, and it was fairly empty. A dusty, neglected attic sort of life.

And then I awoke, and I found joy, beauty, love, happiness - those sorts of things. And life was good and exciting and contained some wonder and purpose. I sought and I found. I worked and I tried; I laughed and I felt. I felt so much for a while there.

And then I hit a rough patch and fell under the spell of one wicked witch who, in the fairy tale version of my existence, would be named - and not with even a touch of subtlety - Madame Inertia.

I lived under the enchantment of this femme terrible for no less than three years. And good things happened during this three years, don't get me wrong. I made friends that I madly cherish, friends whose faces are beaming at me from photos in frames just above the desk where I now type. Friends that I can't wait to see again; soon, please soon. And I lived and saw things and worked and tried and learned then too.

I'm tempted to say some harsher things, to use words like wasted and lost and defeated.

But the funny thing is that you can't really regret, can you? You can't really say, oh, I should have done this sooner, I should have moved and not wasted so much time. I should have chosen a different school for my undergrad or not stayed in Chicago so long. No. Because then this wouldn't be this, would it? This would be different - people, situation, city, who knows? - and not at all this. This is bringing me such joy and contentment, but it couldn't be if anything in my life - anything at all - had been any different.


I think I lost my main point there. They are a windy path tonight, my thoughts. But here's what I was getting at:

I am so happy.
My life is so blessed.
I made the right choice, at the right time.
These people in my life here, I love them so much.
I know that I am doing exactly what I should be doing, and what I want to be doing.

It is weird, actually. Times are difficult. September has been a very hard month in lots of ways. I had this day a couple of weeks ago, and let's just say that it would make a fantastic Steve Martin comedy. I'm not going for hyperbole here; it was the worst day of my life. Think Planes, Trains, and Automobiles or whatever is your least favorite, most painful one of his movies. They are all pretty awful, so good luck narrowing it down to one.

But truly, life is so fundamentally good. I can't stop wondering how I fumbled into this good fortune. Joy. Here are some of the reasons why this is so: constantsunshinefriendsCulver'sfrozencustardteachingmathmusicnoveltynodramapossibilityopportunity
thefuturelayssparklingahead. I'm so thankful for all of these. I'm blessed a quintillion miles beyond anything that I deserve.

Currently Listening to
Dierks Bentley Feel That Fire

Twitter / Davie_St

Words That I'm Living By - 5/2/2010

Time, as I've known it
Doesn't take much time to pass by me
Minutes into days, turn into months
Turn into years, they hurry by me
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

Dreams full of promises
Hopes for the future, I've had many
Dreams I can't remember now
Hopes that I've forgotten,
faded memories
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

And I love to see the morning
as it steals across the sky
I love to remember and
I love to wonder why
And I hope that I'm around
so I can be there when I die
When I'm gone

I hope that you will think of me
In moments when you're happy and you're smiling
That the thought will comfort you
On cold and cloudy days
if you are crying
And that you'll love to see
the sun go down
And the world go around
And around and around

"Around and Around" by Mark Kozelek

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