Friday, May 29, 2009

Life & Times: Part I

This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful life. How did I get here?

I've decided to write another kinda serious series of blog posts, traveling back in time, going over the thoughts, actions (both internal and external), and emotions that got me here.

"Here" is everything and nothing all at once. It is everything in the sense that it is all I have. Nothing in the sense that I feel like I am starting over from scratch, back at square one, with nothing much of my past to show for anything.

I'm 25 years old, basically unemployed and uneducated (that is to say I lack much formal education), in a place that I would have never pictured myself in, living with someone I would have never pictured myself living with, all the while gazing from afar at what was my life.

I feel like Facebook is the crystal glass of my past. I use it to keep up with old friends, sure, but it acts more as an alternate form of reality to me. I see all of my friends from back "home" and what they are up to: through photos, event invitations, wall banter between them all, and I feel a large sense of disconnection. I subconsciously put myself into those pictures and events that make up the life I should, would or could be living. I wait helplessly for the day my ex girlfriend's relationship status changes from "single" to something else. I try to picture myself in the background of group photos. I see other friends leaving "home," but for a destination; somewhere they are headed for a purpose, whether it be further education, employment, or love. These are the worst parts about being away from "home."

So, I pose the question to myslef time and time again: what am I doing here?

I had a bit of a revelation regarding the answer, just earlier this week. As I left the Cook County courthouse a free man, with all of my DUI woes behind me, it started to come together. My first reaction was sheer elation. I was really worried I was not going to leave the courthouse that day. Though I had complied with all of the stipulations of the court, after everything I had been through, a part of me was just not sure what would happen.

After nearly crying on my drive home, and actually shedding a few tears as I hugged my Mom goodbye, I turned the radio of my sweet new 1991 Pontiac up loud, and sang along with my old Chicago stations. I felt great, free, and almost reborn.

The further south down I-57 I got, the more and more the excitement faded and I came down from my emotional high. It's not that I got sad all of a sudden, but I began to think about the question once again: where was I headed and why?

I came to the partial conclusion that I was avoiding "home" because of all the emotional baggage attached to it. For nine months I had been escaping (or hiding from) my problems. Initially it was just the DUI, and maybe some minor family issues. But then it turned into more serious family issues, responsibilities I had back "home" and of course, eventually Jess.

So, less than a week later I am asking myself the question again. The answer has not changed much, and it's still not much of an answer. Have I convinced myself that Champaign is just more fitting to my lifestyle? I don't think so. Am I simply not strong enough to deal with the emotional pain of being near my ex? Is there more to it than that? What events, people, emotions and actions have lead to my move and caused me to stay here?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Kennel Chronicles

Coming this Summer...

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Shitstorm rages on

My car was totalled. I thought that was the last of it. I was wrong.

I got a letter n the mail from the IRS yesterday. I'm being audited.

So, let's add up all of the bullshit I have been through in the last nine months or so: DUI arrest, never-ending breakup and heartache, eviction, job loss, arrest on a warrant leading to a night in Champaign county, serious car accident, and now, IRS audit.

I have court next week, and I'm sure the great state of Illinois and the County of Cook will somehow find a way to lock me up again. But I'm not going to let that, or any of this other bullshit bring me down. I'm still here, standing tall, with my friends and family behind me. What doesn't kill me will only make me stronger. That's the attitude I have to have. Sink or swim, fight or flight. I'm not going to be a victim any more.

My car may be gone, I may have lost the best job I ever had and the greatest girl I have ever met, but I will not let the past get in the way of my future. I have paid for my crimes, learned many lessons, and lost many friends in the process, but I've also made many. I've also become a better person because of what has happened to me. And I would did it all over again, simply for the experience.

Hello World! It's me, Ryan, and I'm back.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Always Something, Sometimes Nothing

a short poem

It will always be somewhere
Floating around in space
Waiting for it's time
While praying for it's death

It has no choice in many matters
Where it goes
How it gets there
Or if it ever will

It was once a butterfly
Now back in a cocoon
Dreaming of spreading it's wings once again
Trying to remember the last time it did

Harmonica makes me weep

To all my faithful blog readers (and friends)...

I have to come clean about something.

I have been trying to be strong. I have been trying to move on. I have been trying to forget. But I can't.

I miss her so much. I never realized how much of my life was her: depended on her, endeared her, made her a part of me and me a part of her.

I still don't know for certain if I miss her or just the feeling of being with someone. But that seems to have less and less bearing as the days pass. It's being with someone who happens to be her that I miss.

I've lost my orbit.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You can't spell Victim Impact Panel without Victim Impact

Today started out like most days for the typical blue collar working folk: up by eight, work by nine. I on the other hand, have not been up at eight for... well let's just say I don't recall the last time I was awake at 8AM and sober. But I had to work today at nine, or at least thought I did.

Apparently it's tomorrow that I work at nine. So, I did what any other self-respecting, underemployed, broke as a joke person would do - stood in line for food stamps. There is something refreshing about saying that out loud (via blog). It's probably just the middle-class, suburban roots, but when I even think food stamps, I picture Cabrini Green: single mother, five kids in a two bedroom apartment, trading diapers for crack (somebody's getting the raw end of that deal). I am aware that is extremely ignorant, but blame my stupid background!

Anyhow, when you approach the check-in counter at the Department of Human Services (after being politely scolded by the security guard (yes, they have a security guard), and are asked to repeat yourself, you feel a sense of shame stating "I'm looking to apply for food stamps," twice.

So, there it is; in black and white for the world to see. I applied for food stamps today. And you know what? I hold no shame! You know why? Because since the day my father lost his six figure income, my family and I have been nothing but screwed over by this wretched government of ours, and I am more than willing to take any penny they are willing to hand out to me. As a matter of fact, I have made it my goal to enroll in school this fall, finish my Associate's degree, obtain my Bachelors, and possibly even attend Grad school... all on the government's dime. The system is flawed and I will find the loopholes, jump through the hoops, lie, cheat and steal (okay, maybe not steal or kill - wait, did I even say kill?) to get Uncle Sam to bow down to me for once! I want revenge!!! (And a fancy piece of paper that declares my smartness.)

Speaking of evil empires and corrupt systems (namely judicial)...

So, after trying to coerce the government into buying me lunch meat and milk, I went back home for a short nap and to grab my things, then hit the road. My destination: Cook County District Courthouse #3, Rolling Meadows, Illinois. I had a 3PM meeting with my Court Operator* Iris Martinez. (*It's what her card says, but in regular talk, a probation officer for misdemeanors, and also a very nice lady.) I left Champaign with three and a half hours to arrive on time. Things were going very smoothly until I reached the 'burbs. They must have known I was coming: traffic jam on I-80. Thankfully, my friend Ben sent me an alternate route and I was on my way.

I arrived at the courthouse a few minutes late, but I called Ms. Martinez, and she was cool with my tardiness. (I know what you're thinking, a cool, non-postal worker, government employee!? But they do exist.) Things went smoothly, until she tried to seduce me, but I straightened her out, and was on my way to my Ma's house in B-town for a home cooked meal. My favorite too, Salmon!

Ate dinner, chatted it up a bit Mom, and headed back to good ol' Rolling Meadows for my Victim Impact Panel thingy (another requirement of my DUI).**

So, I'm driving along 290 West, headed towards the Kirchoff exit and I notice that traffic is getting backed up. In an effort to not be late to another court-ordered bull shit mess, I decide to take the Kirchoff exit, as opposed to the Euclid, which I otherwise have always taken. (If you're not from the suburbs or city, you're probably getting lost here - stick with it.)

Suddenly I realize that my seatbelt is not on. Nothing new, I have been really bad about seatbelt use of late. However, I decide to buckle up, thinking in the back of my mind shit, what if I get in an accident without it on? Sure enough, I'm headed down Euclid, approaching the light at Rhowling....

Light turns yellow...

I panic (thanks a lot photo-enforced camera red light ticket thingys!)...

I brake
I look in the rearview
I see a big SUV coming at me...
Let off the brake, attempt to speed up-


My small little VW Golf just got sent at least 50 yards, across the intersection, passed oncoming traffic, in rush our traffic...

I'm bouncing back and forth, without enough time to even panic, when suddenly the car comes to a halt, I fly forward, backward, and repeat, finally slowing my small, thin frame enough to see my sunroof collide with my windshield and glass fly everywhere.

I see smoke, or what I think is smoke coming from the back of the car. I try to exit - no luck. I reach for the passenger door and escape, dazed and confused, in the middle of traffic.

My first instinct is to see if the guy in the SUV is okay. He's on the phone in his undamaged Chevy Trailblazer.

The next few minutes are a blur, bit finally the cops showed up and ticketed the dude, had my car towed, as I walked across the street and waited for a ride.

I missed my victim impact panel. But I'm okay.

Lesson learned: Don't drink and drive. If I had never gotten the initial DUI, I would not be in this situation.

Thanks, Karma.

**For more information on my DUI, please see past entries.

I hate everything my life has become OR I'm at the bottom looking up

I should be in bed right now, sleeping. I worked until 2AM this morning and am scheduled to be back at work at 9AM. I'm pretty sure that is against the law, but right now, beggars can't be choosers. Besides, it's only a three hour shift, before I hit the road for Rolling Meadows. Appointment with my P.O. (not really a P.O. but a)I don't know her real title and b) it sounds way more badass. Anyhow, I can't sleep so I might as well write, right?

My life has almost never been in my own control. It's had it's moments, but ultimately, I have just been along for the ride, taking the good with the bad.

Currently, it's a dichotomous mix. I am underemployed in a terrible job market. I am barely making ends meet. I am missing so many people, so many relationships I fucked over. (Specifically one.) But at the same time, I'm optimistic about the future. I am willing to start anew, and taking any and every opportunity that comes my way. A few have... mostly the ones that don't pay much, but a couple that could lead to better things...

Problem is, I don't have time to waste. Maybe that is why I can't sleep: I'm too worried that when I wake up, I'll be back where I started- an underemployed, lifeless version of the me that "could have been."

I just need a little help. Well, maybe more than a little, but not that much. I just need a few good words of wisdom, inspiration and hope. A few dollars. A few leads. A positive attitude, and the courage to stand up for myself, be confident and make some good decisions - not just one or two, but like five or six, consecutive good decisions that would send me down the right path.

Ok, so maybe I am asking for A LOT of help.

Anyhow, that's my peace for the night.

Night, all!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My fives (pt. 1)

My five greatest memories...
(in order of best to greatest)

5th Grade: O.M. meet, taking second place. But more importantly, having fun with my friends.

First grade: first kiss.

Junior Year (High School): First prom date (though we didn't end up going).

A beautiful Easter Day, around age 5: Mowing the lawn with my Dad.

August 28, 2004: Every part of it.

Dear Chicago

Dear Chicago,
You'll never guess.
You know the girl you said I'd meet someday?
Well, I've got something to confess.
She picked me up on Friday.
Asked me if she reminded me of you.
I just laughed and lit a cigarette,
Said "that's impossible to do."
My life's gotten simple since.
And it fluctuates so much.
Happy and sad and back again.
I'm not crying out to much.
Think about you all the time.
It's strange and hard to deal.
Think about you lying there.
And those blankets lie so still.
Nothing breathes here in the cold.
Nothing moves or even smiles.
I've been thinking some of suicide.
But there's bars out here for miles.
Sorry about the every kiss.
Every kiss you wasted (bad / back)
I think the thing you said was true,
I'm going to die alone and sad.

The wind's feeling real these days.
Yeah, baby, it hurt's me some.
Never thought I'd feel so blue.
New York City, you're almost gone.
I think that I've fallen out of love,
I think I've fallen out of love . . . with you.

I just want to fall out of love already...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Forcing myself to write

Even if it's just a free write

Listening to Pete Yorn. Missing old friends. Mostly Mikey W.

Missing New Year's Eve. Missing summer. And High school.

Why can't i focus on the future anymore? It's all about the past. Makes me wanna peace out. Or at least start over. Guess that is what I am trying to do.

I hate contractions.

Will anyone understand me? She's out there. She has got to be.

Back to magnetic shit.

Life is a crazy thing. Writing about it is really hard.

Hung Jury

I'm titling this post AFTER I write it. I have discovered that when I title my entry BEFORE I write it, I typically end up with something that resembles a self-fulfilling prophecy "poser" post, instead of a straight up blog entry.

I'm currently listening to some "Brainwave Mind Voyages III" which is supposed to make me high or something. Good news is, I'm already feeling good, so no need for this BS crap (that's redundant), but time for some good tunes...

Ah, the sweet sound of Erin Fein's voice. Headlights it is. Along with a smoke.

Man, I love Anthropology. I just watched some program (what am I, 91 years old?) on TLC about the "science of attraction." It was good - simply put. It totally tripped me out. All sorts of stuff about the science (chemical reactions in the brain, etc.) initial attraction, being "in love," staying "in love," monogamy, sociological shit, psychological shit...
But it all got me thinking. I was thinking about science verses [insert a non-existent word here] which led me to thinking about nature v. nurture, church v. sate, Row v. Wade, and the like. It got me thinking about thinking, about Einstein, about the theory of relativity and for each action...

I used to think everything that was right, was wrong. Now every time i think I'm right, I'm wrong. (a recent tweet - edited for error)

An equal and opposite reaction.

For every nowhere, a somewhere. For everyone, a no one. For every sample, a dead end. For every child, a non-parent. For every time I screwed up, an opportunity to make it better. For every loss, another chance. For every next time, a regret. An opposite, BUT equal reaction. Not AND. It's what makes us Human.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


As if there is another kind of insanity...

God damn, what a weekend. I thank my friend Steel Reserve. Without your affordability and 8.1% ABV, I don't think I would be writing this right now.

Drama, drama, drama... dogs, dogs, dogs... that describes my weekend pretty well.

You think you have a handle on a situation, and all of a sudden everything blows up in your face. You think you know somebody, and then they go and throw you a curve ball. You are happy one minute, and confused, lonely and scared the next. I don't think - even if I had the choice - that I would have it any other way. I crave this chaos. Without it, life is boring. I just wish Jim was here to back me up on that.

That's what I love most about living with Jimbo - he gets it. I just wish he didn't work at 6AM every fucking day, so that we could stay up late making ou- I mean, talking... No, for serious, talking (we're not gay).

Ugh, I knew I had things to blog about, but my mind is blank right now. Maybe be back later...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Like a rolling stone

I'm not in the mood to debate about Twitter yet (so, Noah, it's first come first serve I guess), but I am in the mood to write about something else.

I just realized - well not really, but finally decided to write about it: I have never been a "part" of anything. I mean, I had my groups (plural) of friends in high school, I have held jobs where I felt like "part of the crowd" (but mostly just at work), with the one exception being Petsmart, which as you probably know, was fairly short-lived.

I'm a drifter I guess you could say. Since high school I have never lived in the same place for more than two years. I have lost touch with a lot of friends over the years, I suppose we all have. But, I miss a lot of those friends. Who knows? Maybe some day I'll reconnect with them, like I have with several in the past. I like having a lot of friends from different walks of life, different places and different cliques, but I think it has prevented me from getting close with a lot of people that could have made a positive impact on my life.

Maybe it's a fear of commitment? After all, I did leave the suburbs (twice) where my solid core of "close friends" were. They all wanted me to stay, but I think they really just wanted was best for me. They even pointed out that they were being selfish by asking me to stay.

The first time I left, it was for a girl, Jessica. I may have pretended it was for my future, which in a way it was, but not in the way I was tricking myself into believing. The second time, it was to get away from the same girl... again, in a way. There were other minor reasons in play; my roommate, my new friends, potential jobs... I'm still not even completely sure why I came back down here to Champaign. I do know that something inside of me just missed it down here. Geographic solution to an emotional problem? Perhaps. But I think (and hope) it's going to work out down here. I don't even know why I hope so, not entirely at least. I guess it's just different down here - not too suburban, not too country, and just enough city.

But, after all, I'm on Plan Z, which means I have to make something work down here. The good news is that I have two potential jobs that could lead to very good things. The first of which, I have an interview for tomorrow afternoon. The second, next week. I really, really hope that they work out, so I can get my ass back on track, possibly taking classes again, and start working towards a life I actually WANT to live - not just one that gets me through the day to day.

However, I have strayed from the point. Being part of something...

Maybe it's a good thing that I have never been a "part" of something. First of all, I am a natural born leader, and secondly... oh god, here comes the Ram Dass... secondly, I am what some would refer to as a "free spirit." Or at least, I wish I was. I strive for that. I think it's worth fighting for.

I want to tell you all more about Ram Dass, but you're best bet is to just Wiki or Google that name and you'll get the gist. Basically, he sees us all as souls. His crazy acid/mushroom trips led him to enlightenment, which is where I hope to be, sans drugs.

If I could paraphrase his thoughts (which I can't, but I will try), we are all part of something, but not the things we label ourselves with. I may be a son, a brother, a liberal, a generation-X male... but none of this really matters, because I AM ME. And you are you. Alive or dead, we have our relationships with others. (Again, this might be kind of deep and confusing without understanding Dass and his writings and teachings.) But to try to sum it up (once again), you are a soul who never dies. The relationships you have with others, will never die. They will be passed on to others, and no one is EVER gone, just elsewhere, if that.

Be here now. Listen to your emotions. Listen to your heart, your soul, your mind, yourself. Be here now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This, that and MORE SWINE FLU!

I have a sneaking suspicion that my computer is on it's last leg. After seven long years of trusty service, good ol' Bessy Lou is showing some signs of aging.

But no worries, Bessy... Ryan can't afford a new porn machine right now, so we'll just have to get through this together.

On a better note, I finally got two calls back from potential employers and have interviews scheduled for this week and next - REAL jobs. The sooner I can leave Papa John's, the better. And going back to retail would make me so very happy (and Jim too, so he won't have to break my legs). We have one of those thermometer goal thingys on the fridge that reads "Ryan's Save-A-Limb Fund." Basically it shows me making slow, but steady progress in back rent payments. I gotta say, I got one hell of a roommate who is putting up with my BS very well while I get back on my feet.

One other bit of good news! I have been in touch with Seth Fein, an editor at Smile Politely, a music/culture blog down here in C-U, and he is interested in bringing me on as a music writer or editor. I'm pretty certain it's an unpaid thing, but it's a fairly respectable and recognized site that would look good on any resume.

Back to the bad news... Jim's grandmother passed away yesterday afternoon, so he is back in the burbs for awhile. This time he left me with both pups, which is actually better than just one because they wear each other out, thus requiring less energy on my part. But this weekend, I'm watching some friends' German Sheppards, so I'll have a whole house full of canine insanity. Again, it works out pretty well because the big dogs kick the little ones asses and keep them in line.

One final life update: The past few days I have felt some sort of disease sneaking up on me - minor sore throat, headache, etc... but very, very minor. Perhaps my theory of "a few beers a day keeps the doctor away," is more accurate than real doctors tell me. Money-hungry bastards. Maybe it's pig flu and I found a cure....

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dear Champaign

Dear Champaign,

I'm glad I came back. I've decided that I'm neither a city nor a country boy - I'm a Champaign boy, at least for now.

You're a perfect fit: not too crazy, not too dull, though you can be both. You're not as ridiculously naive as the suburbs, but not extremely overrated and overprices, like the city. You're Champaign! And I love that about you.

You're far enough away from St. Louis, but close enough to Chicago... and even closer to Indy! If I need some space, some fresh air, or just to gaze at the stars all night, I'm only a 20 minute drive away.

You've got crime and drama, but you also got bars and women by the dozens.

You took me away from my friends, but introduced me to new ones.

Your population may decrease every May, but the Federal government doesn't need to know about that. Anybody in their right mind would stay for the Summers you host. Hell, the bars are less crowded with idiots and the cover charges are nonexistent.

And Champaign - if everything else about you fails, and I find myself lonely and homeless, at least I'll have your park benches to sleep on, your sweet smells to breath in and your hospitality.

Forever Yours,


Awaiting debate... the meantime (while Noah gets his shit together so we can debate about Twitter), I guess I should keep this thing updated.

First off, I watched "The Fountain" last night, and I just want to say that it was one trippy film. If I ever watch it again, I'll either be completely sober or wiggin' on shrooms... most likely the latter.

Second order of business: Twitter is growing exponentially! I love that I was one of the first few thousand to join, lol. You best be following me:

Oh, so Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! But more importantly, Happy 21st to my favorite sister! (technically my only sister, technically) Be safe Courtney! Nah, eff that, have fun!

Anyhow, I'm in crazy ADD blogging mode right now, so I'll most likely be back soon... hopefully by then Noah starts debating.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Time to debate!

So, Noah- my good buddy and fellow blogger, have decided to have a blog debate (in lieu of better blog ideas).

First topic: Twitter
Moderator: Ryan Peters
I'm debating on behalf of Twitter, Noah against it.

If you're unfamiliar with Twitter, you'll probably side with Noah, but you can familiarize yourself here and here.

I just want to point out pre-debate, that I was once a Twitter skeptic, much like Noah. Once I gave it a shot however, back in November of 2007, I slowly but surely became a fan.

Anyhow, get ready for some intense debating!