I Hear They Say You Can’t Go Home Again

Pictured above is the wood stove fireplace in the living room of the home I grew up in. I am currently sitting in front of it, watching what may be the last fire I’ll ever build in this fireplace dwindle down to nothing but embers and ash. This may be the last night I’ll ever spend sitting here in front of this fireplace, in this room, in this house, on this street, in my hometown.

I have so many fond memories of this house. Just staring at this fireplace reminds me of a time when I was little and running around the house with my sister and cousin. I tripped, lost my balance and caught myself but burned both my hands on the top of the wood stove in the process. I’ve since learned to be much more careful around burning fires. Five feet from this fireplace is the couch where I laid for a week after having surgery when I was seventeen — frozen peas pressed to my face and vicodin coursing through my veins. Two rooms from that couch is the kitchen where I drank my first beer and eventually drank many other beers with countless good friends. Twenty feet beyond that is the family room couch where I would spend my mornings before school watching cartoons as a young lad, and later watched Sportscenter as a slightly older young lad. It’s the very same room I sat in on the morning of September 11th, 2001, as my dad and I watched the twin towers fall, speechless and stunned. At that moment, all the darkness and evil of the world reached out through TV screens and radio waves and pushed its way into our schools, offices, cars, living rooms and the forefront of our minds. At that moment, I suddenly felt smaller than I ever had before. One floor above that couch was my childhood bedroom where I would spend hours in junior high talking to friends on the phone, skating around the constant “do you think she likes me?” worries of adolescent insecurity, back before texting was the norm (hint: she usually didn’t like me). The window of that bedroom still doesn’t have a screen because I broke it climbing out onto the roof in the summer after 8th grade, probably to drink Capri-Suns and feel like the king of the world. On the other side of that roof was our magical backyard, where as a kid I played countless games of tag, hide-and-seek, basketball, and I excelled at makeshift home run derbies, like a 9-year-old Mark McGwire (minus the steroids and 24-inch biceps). Yes, every inch of this property has its very own list of memories, and I could go on all day describing them to you, but that’s not the point. This is not a story about nostalgia or about happier days. This is a story about growing up and moving on.

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If You’re Not Doing Anything Tonight: John K. Samson Concert

First of all, I know I haven’t written much lately — sorry about that. I’ve been pretty busy with school and other things, but I promise I’ll pick up the pace again soon.

Anyway, if you’re not doing anything tonight (April 1st), you should come to the Tractor Tavern in Ballard for the John K. Samson concert. He is the lead singer of The Weakerthans and is currently touring in support of his debut solo album. Tickets are only $12 and it’s going to be a great time. Up above is the first single off his solo album, which is about trying to finish school work while being distracted by video games. While I like his new solo stuff I am also hoping he plays some classic Weakerthans songs. This is one of my favorites, clever songwriting at its best:

“I’m broke like a bad joke 
Somebody’s uncle told 
At a wedding reception in 1972
Where a little boy under a table with cake in his hair
Stared at the grown-up feet as they danced and swayed
And his father laughed and talked on the long ride home
And his mother laughed and talked on the long ride home
And he thought about how everyone dies someday
And “When tomorrow gets here, where will yesterday be?”
And he fell asleep in his brand-new winter coat

I need a shiny new machine 
That runs on lies and gasoline
And all those batteries we stole from smoke-alarms
It disassembles my despair
It never took me anywhere
It never once bought me a drink”

Melancholy never sounded so good. Anyway, that’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll see you at the Tractor Tavern tonight.

-E

A Birthday Present for Nick

Nick (age 8)
Basically a superhero if you ask me.

I don’t normally ask my readers to do much (except read), but today I am asking you to do something. Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve giving me money or driving me somewhere.

Situation: My girlfriend’s cousin is an 8-year old boy battling Neuroblastoma for the third time in five years. He is a good kid who just wants to live a normal life and play sports and hang out with his friends. He lives across the country, so I haven’t ever had the chance to meet him but I can hardly fathom how brave and strong he must be to get up and fight cancer every single day.

You might be asking yourself, “Okay Eliot, this is a very touching story, but how does it affect me?”

I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED, INCREDIBLY ENGAGED READER. Here’s the deal: His 9th birthday is coming up on March 27th and his mom is trying to get birthday cards sent to him from every state and province in the US and Canada. So, if you or  anyone you know happens to live in a little state (Rhode Island, please stand up), a big state (hello, Texas) or even a medium state (I see you, Michigan), please take a moment to send Nick a birthday card. It’s probably the cheapest birthday present you’ll ever have to give but it would mean so much. This is the address to send the cards to:

Super Nick Power
PO Box 142 
Dracut, MA 01826

I know that between this request and last week’s Kony 2012 discussion, I have really been slacking in the light-hearted humorous fare I normally put here for your reading pleasure. In my defense, these things are really important. As always, thanks for reading, and thank you in advance for making Nick’s birthday amazing.

-E

P.S. If you will be sending him a card, please tweet me @leftcoastsuit or comment on this post to let me know what state/province/country you’ll be writing from. Did I mention you’re awesome? Because you are. Thanks again.

Anti-Viral Opinion: Why The #KONY2012 Movement Is a Bit Problematic

Joseph Kony: Now More Popular on Twitter than Beiber AND Lady Gaga Combined

 

Okay brace yourself, I’m about to say something unpopular here. Yes, even MORE unpopular than my views on Blade Runner.

I don’t know how I feel about this Kony 2012 movement that has taken the internet by storm over the last 48 hours. While I think the cause is worthwhile and I am very impressed by Invisible Children’s ability to harness the power of social networking to make it simple and (of course) cool to join a social movement, I wonder if people are actually stopping to think about what they’re supporting.

I know the video is moving and the story is terrifying, but pushing our government to send troops into Africa to engage the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Congo is a scary and not particularly well-thought out idea. Currently, no one knows where Joseph Kony is, because he and the rest of the LRA were run out of Uganda over a half decade ago. Northern Ugandans have been enjoying peace and increasing safety ever since the LRA retreated out of the country. This situation is different than when we went into Iraq and were able to topple Saddam’s regime because we knew where his palaces were. The LRA is hiding out in the jungle and this whole thing has the potential to turn into a quagmire that would be impossible to extricate our military from.

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Like Tears in the (Indoor) Rain: The Final Scenes of Blade Runner

Confession: Last night I experienced Blade Runner for very first time.

Yes I know, it is 2012 and I’ve been around for a long time and I should have seen this CINEMATIC MASTERPIECE before now but hey — we aren’t all perfect. Coincidentally, another great example of something “not being perfect” was this film. I have spent the last 12 hours racking my brain trying to comprehend why the world loves it so much. Personally, I found it to be poorly paced (but as Kevin Cooke says, “dude, everybody knows pacing wasn’t invented until 1995.”) and honestly not edited all that well (I am aware that there are multiple versions — I saw the 1992 Director’s Cut — no voiceover narration, no final prologue, etc.). I will chalk up the poor editing to the fact that (according to the internet) the “Director’s Cut” was hastily thrown together and done without direct input from director Ridley Scott.

Overall, the film looked great — brooding, atmospheric, and way ahead of its time visually. Although despite the visuals, by the hour mark, I found myself asking if I even cared what happened to anyone in the film and seriously considered giving up and watching Seinfeld re-runs instead. Alas, I am happy I did not do that because the last 15 minutes of Blade Runner happen to contain a ridiculous fight sequence that legitimately made me laugh out loud. I’M TALKING STRAIGHT UP LOL’S. At this point I began using my iPhone to furiously document my wide-ranging thoughts on what I was seeing unfold before me. Below I have included the scene during which I took a majority of the notes, which I suggest you watch to get a little context if you haven’t seen the movie recently.

 

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