Friday, January 11, 2013

Like Trying to Solve a Crossword and Realizing There’s No Right Answer

Dear Taylor Swift,

You have somewhat recently released a new album featuring this song, among others:

Now, before I go into my thoughts on this jam of yours, Taylor, I have to be honest. I have not historically been your biggest fan. I first heard about you when I was at school in Texas and one of my friends started playing your debut album in the car non-stop when we would drive around. I could not get away from this, as I did not have my own car at the time, and this person was more or less my sole mode of transportation. I listened to your entire first album multiple times against my will and I did not enjoy it. At all. I still don’t like any of the songs on that album. Not a single one.

But apparently, as you have started to grow up, so, too, has your music. This is what I am telling myself, because I find myself obsessively listening to a lot of your songs and I don’t really know how to feel about this.

Really, it started with that song from The Hunger Games. That song is gorgeous. Plus you sang it with The Civil Wars. I told myself that the only reason I could possibly enjoy something associated with you, Taylor, was because someone else made it good. So I attributed the enjoyability of that song to The Civil Wars and listened to it song guilt free, for the most part.

But then you started releasing songs from your new album Red. And I listened to them. And I initially thought, “meh.” And then I’d listen again, just to make sure I thought that. And then I’d look up what the internet was saying about who you may or may not have written that particular song about, and then I’d listen to it again because “ooh I missed that lyric.” And then suddenly I’d listened to it thirty times and knew all the words?

I’m obsessed with you lately, Taylor. I still don’t like most of your early stuff, but a select few of your older songs have grown on me and I absolutely love Red. The funny thing is that a lot of the people I know who used to love you now think you are incredibly annoying and that your new music sucks. Well, I don’t blame them for finding you annoying. You might be. But I think your new pop singer/songwriter direction is great. Keep doing that!

Now let’s talk about this We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together song. I thought it was ridiculous at first and the title is still too long, but whatever. It is one of many songs off this album that I love. The reason that I love it is because I actually kind of relate to it. Yeah.

It’s not that I’ve been in a relationship where we broke up and got back together over and over again, because I haven’t. But I have had those kinds of friendships, the ones you think are going to last forever and you throw yourself into maintaining them no matter how difficult and one-sided it becomes. The ones where you’re fed up and just over it, and then they call you and apologize and say how much they miss you and you’re manipulated into feeling bad for not being there for them, only to start the vicious cycle over again. And I’ve gotten to the point where I just wanted to scream at them that I never, ever, ever wanted to see them again.

So once I realized I liked this song and understood the place you wrote it from, I started listening to more and more of your songs and I slowly discovered that there are a lot of them that I can connect with. I’d have to say that my favorite songs of yours are Everything Has Changed (featuring Ed Sheeran) and probably Fearless, though that makes me feel weird to say because it’s so… cheerful and optimistic. What can I say, my New Year’s resolution to be braver has already paid off, so I’m not going to feel bad about listening to a song about not being scared to fall for somebody. (More on this later… provided it doesn’t all fall apart and Sad Beautiful Tragic becomes my favorite Taylor Swift song.)

There’s just something special about the honesty of your lyrics. I guess that’s your big appeal in the first place, but I was annoyed by you in the past because your songs all felt juvenile to me. Like, I don’t know, a teenager wrote them, or something. But this new album is different. I think you’ve still got a lot of growing up left to do (Harry Styles? Really?) but I think your sound has matured in a pretty interesting way. It also helps that none of the songs on this album are like, “your girlfriend’s a slut! She doesn’t understand you! Date me instead!” because that was pretty gross, Taylor. Let’s just be real.

Anyway, all I wanted to say is that you’re all right, Taylor. I don’t know if I want to like, be friends with you, but I like your music. You’re still mostly a guilty pleasure for me, but I’m warming up to you. Maybe, someday, ten years from now, I’ll go see you in concert. As long as you don’t sing Picture to Burn or Love Story or Mean or You Belong With Me or… you know what, just spend the next decade writing songs less irritating than those. I think you’re off to a pretty good start.

A Reluctant Fan

P.S. This version of I Knew You Were Trouble is ridiculously cool.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

By the way, he wears 92 because HE WAS BORN IN 1992. Let’s all feel old together.

Hey! So the lockout ended! FINALLY! I can talk about hockey again! I know you’re all really excited about this! I started this post forever ago and now I finally feel motivated to finish and post it. WOOO HOCKEY!

So one Tuesday a few months ago, while I was taking a bath, this happened:


I wish I could say my initial reaction was something other than just “LOL! LOL! LOL WAIT REALLY?” but it was not. That was my exact reaction. I have gotten used to the idea of it over the last few months thanks to the lockout, but it’s going to be crazy to see him actually suit up with the C. It will be awesome, but it will still be crazy.

Now that this completely unexpected development has settled, I have some thoughts.

This kid. Okay.

I suffered through the season it took to get this kid, and it was awful and painful and devastating and it was the first time I actually cried sad tears over the situation a sports team I cared about was in. But looking at that picture, I wouldn’t change a single second of it.

Towards the end of the 10-11 season of horribleness, everyone had a pretty good idea of where we’d end up in the draft. The Oilers were still somehow worse than we were (hahahahaaaaa) so we were pretty much salivating over that second overall pick. It was all we had to look forward to. And Avs fans were arguing over who we thought we should pick, and while there were people throwing out other names, we were overwhelmingly clamoring for this kid.


(I have no idea who made this or even where I found it but it is beautiful and brilliant.)

Fast forward to the 2011 draft – I watched it on my computer in California in the crappiest apartment ever and I cried because… well, okay, I cried because they traded Liles, but then we drafted Gabe. And I saw him start to stand up before they even called his name, because he knew where he was going. He knew we wanted him.

And then he put on the jersey and the hat and it was a beautiful sight to behold.


(And he looked like a Ken doll.)

And then we spent the summer obsessing over him and going “OMGGGG Landeskog guys LANDY IS HERE!” And then finally the season started and his first game was the game where we retired Peter Forsberg’s number and everyone went on and on about how poetic and perfect that was. And then everyone was comparing them and everyone else was like “whoa guys. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

And then this unglamorous goal was his first one in the NHL, in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets that almost wasn’t on TV (we had to watch the Nationwide jumbotron feed):

And he jumped up and down like a little kid on Christmas morning.

And then this was the rookie season he had.

And then he won this.

NHL Awards Hockey

And now, he’s the youngest captain in the history of the NHL.

Sakic, Foote, Hejduk, Landeskog. Three Cup winners and a dude who’s been in the league for five seconds.

I know what it looks like. I know this seems insane and hilarious. But after this development finally settled inside my brain, I can’t imagine it being any other way. (Okay, I can actually imagine Ryan O’Reilly being captain, but I guess not having a contract yet threw that plan off course. He deserves an A, though.) (AND A CONTRACT. GOOD LORD GET THAT MAN A CONTRACT.)

The Avs are a young team, so it makes sense to give the mantle of leadership to someone who will grow up with it. Landeskog is just a kid, but he has never acted like it. He’s never played like it. This guy almost singlehandedly brought us back from irrelevance to the brink of the playoffs last year. He took charge of this team by showing up every game, grinning his head off while he played his heart out. He’s the only player the Avs had last year who played in every single game. There was a game against the Anaheim Ducks he probably shouldn’t have played in, he had the flu, he felt terrible, he had to take shorter shifts because he ran out of steam faster, but he stayed in. And then in overtime, he scored the gamewinner. It was unreal. He is awesome.

I’m so happy the season is finally starting. The lockout was ridiculous and soul-sucking and miserable for everyone, but it’s over now and real hockey is back. And the Avs have a new captain, and he’s gonna take us places. I HOPE YOU’RE READY.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Songs to Listen to When Things Are Looking Up

1. Feel Again – OneRepublic
I'm feeling better ever since you know me
I was a lonely soul but that's the old me

2. Hello My Old Heart – The Oh Hello’s
nothing lasts forever
some things aren’t meant to be
but you’ll never find the answer
until you set your old heart free

3. Keeper – Shovels & Rope
her friends said she should leave him and come join them in the west coast sand
but she knows she's got a keeper and they'll never really understand

4. Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes) – Michael BublĂ© with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
oh, well it takes somebody special
to knock me off my feet
and baby you've got what it takes

5. The Longest Time – Billy Joel
maybe this won't last very long
but you feel so right
and I could be wrong
maybe I've been hoping too hard
but I've gone this far
and it's more than I hoped for

6. 5 Years Time – Noah & the Whale
and I'm always pretty happy when I'm just kicking back with you

7. Jump Then Fall – Taylor Swift
I like the way I can't keep my focus
I watch you talk, you didn't notice
I hear the words but all I can think is
we should be together

8. I’m Into Something Good – The Bird and The Bee
woke up this morning feeling fine
there’s something special on my mind
last night I met a new boy in the neighborhood

9. When the Right One Comes Along – Sam Palladio & Clare Bowen
in a cold world, it's a warm place
where you know you're supposed to be
a million moments full of sweet relief
when the right one comes along

10. So Long, Lonesome – Explosions in the Sky


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On Low Expectations

Hello, 2013. It’s nice to see you, I guess.

I don’t really do anything special at all for New Year’s or New Year’s Eve. The last time I did was in high school. I was supposed to hang out with someone last night, but it didn’t happen, so I started out this new year with another social letdown. Such is life.

Obviously, the goodness or badness of one evening should not define your entire year, so I’m going to try not to let it get to me. But this incident does make me wonder about what kind of person I want to be, going forward. I’m going to turn 26 this year, and that’s fine, except for the part where I still feel like last year I graduated from college and the year before that I went to high school for the first time. There are still so many things I want to be and do that I haven’t gotten around to yet, and I feel like maybe when I finally do, I’ll be able to catch up with all the time that’s gone by since the last time I really noticed how old I was.

I want to be a hopeful person. I want to believe that good things are going to happen to me, that God has a plan for my life, that all of this is going somewhere and I’m not just going to keep dreaming and dreaming about a hand to hold and then never find one. I want to think I’m destined for great things. But the way the first twenty five and a half years have gone by have not given me much reason to be hopeful. I mean, I can’t complain, not really, because I know there are obviously many people in the world who have so much less than I do. I’m not ignorant of that. But I’m lonely, I guess, and I want to hope that 2013 will finally be an end to that.

The thing is, I thought the same thing this time last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. After a while I tried to temper my expectations and just tell myself that it doesn’t matter that I’m alone and that I’ll probably never find somebody I’m excited enough about to feel like spending the rest of my life with him. And after a while, I sort of became fine with it. But then I met someone and I really liked (like) him, and then we were supposed to hang out last night, and then we didn’t, and now I’m basically convinced that’s it, it’s over, we’re never going to happen. I have no reason to believe this, but I might as well think it because I would rather be pleasantly surprised than completely crushed, again.

What a downer of a post. Sorry. I was planning to end it with a soaring paragraph about choosing hope, and the willingness to risk “putting yourself out there” and getting your heart broken and how everything is Worth It and “you always regret the things you don’t do more than the things you do” but it would all be a lie. I’m not choosing any of that stuff. Not today, anyway. Maybe tomorrow. Today I want to wallow in my pool of self-pity and sadness and work on coming to terms with the fact that I’m probably going to just die alone. It’s fine. It’s my own fault for being picky. I could have settled by now, I’m sure. But I’m not into that. I’m Elizabeth Bennet-y that way.

Anyway. The point, 2013, is that my expectations are very low for you. But I don’t think it’s going against my current cynicism to ask that you please, please give me a reason to choose hope. I’d love to be wrong, is all. Please prove me wrong.