Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Decade Under the Influence.'s been quite a long time since I've updated this. Truth be told, I pretty much considered this blog to be dead and gone. But at the behest of Velvet, who convinced me to do a decade in review blog, I guess I couldn't say no. Mostly because she never really listens when I tell her no.

In order for me to really commit to doing this decade in review, I'll be doing a series of ten posts, one for each year. After that, I'm not really sure about the future of this blog, but honestly does anyone actually care? Probably not.

The first ten years of 2000 was a gigantic swirl of mass confusion. And while many tragedies occoured (Katrina, Tsunami's, Earthquakes, Gaza Strip and 9/11 to name a few) there were also many great things that happened, albeit on a slightly more personal level.

So without further adieu, a decade in review:

The year was 2000. I watch many documentaries, and one thing that always strikes me is that when I come across one from 1999-2000, it stuns me just how much our world around us has completely changed. It can be something basic as how much cellphones have evolved, the implementation of personal computers and high speed internet into everyone's house or how much popular music has changed. While it's by and large just as shallow and vapid as it was a decade ago, it's a clear-cut improvement to the days when Fred Durst ruled the world.

Or it can be something obvious: How we in the Western World view security now. But I'll get into that more in later posts.

In the year 2000 I started coming into the person I am today. While there's been much in the way of my own personal evolution, there's also been groundwork laid as well. But what I hope to capture in these next few blogs are changes. Changes from then to now, and hopefully illustrate for myself what I can do to further myself towards a better future, and hopefully appreciate the past a bit more than I do now.

I graduated from 8th grade in 2000. I was 14 years old at the time, and to be honest that's such a strange reality for me. That merely ten years ago I was 14.

When we walked, the two songs played ad nauseam were Vitamin C's one hit wonder, "The Graduation Song (Friends Forever), and good god if I never hear that awful song again I'll be eternally grateful. The other song was, obviously, Green Day's "Good Riddance" (Time of Your Life).

Green Day was my favorite band at the time. Definitely a gateway band that got me into bands like Anti Flag, Thrice, Operation Ivy, etc.

The afternoon of my graduation, prior to walking, I decided to dye my hair green. It would be the last time I saw my natural hair color for four years. Needless to say, when walking across the stage when it was my turn to take my diploma, I decided that was the time for the great unveil.

You ever have a dream where you're naked in a room full of people? I've never actually had that dream. However, I've lived what I assume would be a real life equivalent. Well, I was wearing clothes, though. Some found it hilarious, some clapped...some looked mortified, and my mother...well, I'm pretty sure I've been dead to her ever since.

That night, I went to a graduation party at a girl named Chardae Vigil's house. It was a pool party. My closest friend at the time, Mike Mumme (who was a year older than everyone at the party) and I went. I'd had a crush on Chardae ever since I saw her for the first time on the first day in Kindergarten. I was surrounded by people I'd known my entire academic career, my closest friends on the planet. People I'd grown up with along the way. I didn't know at that time that this night would be the last night, the last time I would ever really see any of them. That this was the final time any of us would spend time together. Years later, when coming across any of them, it would be so awkward. How much we'd changed.

Some passed away. Some have children now. Some have completely disappeared into the unknown.

When the party was over, Mike and I walked home. A cop pulled stopped behind us and informed me that we had been breaking curfew, but he let us off.

Later that night I saw Nikki Sideravidge. While I'd always had a crush on Chardae, I can truly say at this point that Nikki was my first love. However, we never dated. But be that as it may, our relationship would be one that I've seen play out similarly several times in my growing years.

I'd met Nikki about the middle of the middle of 8th grade. She was a very unique personality, beautiful, but not in a traditional way. My entire life, I'd never felt right walking in my own skin. A teacher I'd had when I was in third grade, and then eventually again in my Sophomore year in High School had noticed the change. "You always seemed so withdrawn from yourself."

But she somehow got to the core of me in such a way that no one had previously. She also opened up my world to many different things. She was the first real live girl who's breasts I saw. That was just...special. She brought out what would ultimately be my sense of humor.

But with the good in her came the sad. She was the gateway to many things in my life, one of them being my first expose into the foray of the real world.

Nikki had had a rough past, one I don't feel I need to get into within the confines of this blog. But he confessions to me were heartbreaking. One afternoon, while playing video games with her younger brother, I walked into her room to see if she'd like to join us. I caught her holding a bag of cocaine. She lost control of herself, and started weeping.

Over the course of our friendship, I would watch her sink deeply into confines of addiction to numerous drugs. A lot of boys used her, and she knew it. She just had a lot of trouble ever saying no.

My friend Josh and I both became close friends of hers. Eventually Josh would wind up dating her, which really sucked. He was one of my best friends, and she was my first love. But I still stuck it out.

Her house was so unique. It was a new house, and the house had a bright red roof that you can see from miles away.

I still feel pangs of nostalgia every time I see that roof.

She moved away later in the school year. I wouldn't see her again until my first day at High School, my first few moments as a new student. From then on, our contact would become infrequent. The last time I saw her was earlier last year. I think about her often, still.

That summer was spent hanging out often with Mike and Josh, and a girl named Christina Jones, who was like a sister to me. I wound up seeing Green Day for the first time at the Warped Tour.

The Warped Tour that year was held at Manzanita Speedway. I caught bands like the Suicide Machines, Snapcase, Weezer, Green Day, The Donnas...and dozens of others.

Unfortunately, in Arizona during the gets quite hot. It reached, at its highest peak, 136 degrees. Kids dropped from heat stroke and dehydration at every corner. My father Ed had driven me to the show, and occupied his time around Phoenix while waiting for me. At one point he got dinner at Burger King. While he ate, security guards and officials of the Warped Tour brought attendees of the tour in to get them water. Because of this, there was little room. A group of girls who'd came in to eat as well, asked if they could share the table with Ed.

They turned out to be the Donnas.

When I started High School, I felt out of place right away. Because of this, I wound up only attending the main campus for the first half of the year until I felt like I couldn't exactly take it anymore. I wound up spending the rest of the year going to night school.

I worked at Taco Bell for the first time when I was 15 years old. The transition into night school really left me feeling hollow, and for the rest of the year I felt quite despondent.

However, my life long love affair with punk rock music and punk rock shows began to hit a true stride. I'd made a friend named Lisa, who to this day remains one of the greatest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.

That's all for now. See you next time!