21 7 / 2013
18 7 / 2013
I never thought I’d have the courage to say this, but I’m leaving you for good.
I know you’ll be standing at the flimsy dorm room desk where we spent so much time, wondering what you did wrong. You were always quick to anger.
You see, I met Julio’s Freaking Hot Chips at the grocery store last week. He smiled at me as I walked by. I tried not to acknowledge him. I saw his eyes linger on the red stains on my hands- the marks you left.
A friend called out to him from the next aisle over. Julio gave me one last glance before he left.
It would be easy to just dismiss the whole thing. After all, I thought, he would never be quite as hot as you. But as I lingered in the aisle, I started to picture a life with Julio. A life where I wouldn’t constantly be washing my hands, for fear someone would see. A life without the secret shame of lingering eyes, invisible judgments. See those red marks? He can’t help but stay.
So I mustered up all my courage and found Julio in frozen foods. I started rambling like a fool to him, trying to justify the marks on my hands, trying to defend you. It all rang flimsy and hollow. Julio gave me the softest smile, like he understood what I was going through, and it would all be okay.
I did what I could never do with you- I reached out.
I’ll always remember the time I had with you, but I need you to listen: what you did to me was not okay. You need help. Professional help. In a few weeks, you’ll move onto the next boy and forget about me. Just remember, I know what those red marks mean, more than anyone. Now I know there’s a better way.
08 7 / 2013
I’ll be the first to admit that my favorite songs are pretty noncommittal. I was quick to pass this off onto producers or marketing decisions (“Hung Up is actually really subtle! The cyclical nature of the sample aligns with the situation, blah blah blah…”), but I was just sidestepping the real issue. I wanted music for escapism. I wanted to keep running.
One major surgery, one car trip, and one stable relationship were all it took to trip me up. And that explains the country albums slowly creeping into my car.
On the surface, mainstream country sounds incredibly insular. You know the type: songs that detail the simple pleasures of driving one’s truck, having a cold beer, loving one’s woman (or man; I don’t judge). It’s a closed circuit- powered, efficient, but not exactly easy to fathom from the outside.
One Saturday, I found myself on my mother’s couch, caught in a CMT loop. I was in pretty deep by then; I kept telling myself I had no right to be frustrated or angry. It wasn’t me that was recovering. The songs on the countdown weren’t helping. I didn’t want to hear them. They just told me to enjoy myself and be content with what I had.
What I had was frustration.
“Mama’s Broken Heart” starts off slowly. The verses are tense and drawn, but you’ve heard this song before; you know what happens next- the chorus will tell you to stay quiet, stay grateful. But when the snarl of the guitars kicks in, when Miranda Lambert snaps, This ain’t my mama’s broken heart!- that’s what I had been denying.
I stayed with my mother until Dad came back from work, and then I drove to Target, bought the Miranda Lambert album, and blasted “Mama’s Broken Heart” all the way home. No more running. The CDs accumulated- Pistol Annies, Neko Case, Carrie Underwood, Kasey Musgraves- but my hurt, my anger, and my frustration did not.
It’s hard to remember that I am not a pop song. I do not want (or deserve) to gloss over the unpleasant parts. I’m allowed to be angry. I’m allowed to be frustrated. Instead of labeling anger and hurt as unreasonable, I should look closer, dig deeper.
There are some things you simply can’t push aside.
04 7 / 2013
01 7 / 2013
28 6 / 2013
The short version: I took my OUYA to Mad Dog’s house, and absolutely nothing went as expected.
The long version: At first, I was conflicted about the small, silver box resting on my TV stand. Now I’m not.
There were a few small problems; with new hardware, there always is. We collectively managed to get three out of four controllers synchronized. I muttered at the PlayStation controller in my hand, willing the row of blinking lights to settle down. Eventually, the four of us decided to just round-robin. We settled into a nice rhythm that way- passing off a controller as needed, providing color commentary.
Landon would tense up during a round of Hidden In Plain Sight. As a ninja, he would effortlessly dart between statues. As a sniper, he would use his bullets too quickly, or alternatively, not quickly enough.
"Again," he would say.
"Are you sure?"
Usually, when Mad Dog and I played a game, he’d observe with almost cursory interest. This time, something honestly grabbed him.
I can’t remember the last time the four of us were this focused. As a group, we tend to digress. Something about the OUYA- and Hidden In Plain Sight in particular- stripped the digressions away. There was elation, yes, but there was also some serious strategy in between rounds.
If you’re looking for graphical prowess, and a vast, curated selection, the OUYA isn’t for you. But if you sometimes feel lost in a AAA single-player campaign, I’d suggest doing some research.
Is it rough around the edges? Yes. But I believe that with time, care, and an extended catalog, the OUYA could encourage my favorite kind of local play.