Friday, February 28, 2014


So today I got some really tragic news. One of my previous volunteers (I'll call her H), an Americorps member in school at UL-Lafayette, committed suicide a few days ago.

When she was on my worksite, we worked alone together for much of the week. We were stuck in the rental staircase on Professor Longhair's house and having the hardest damn time installing these original balusters and their accompanying handrails. They were all cut to fit in an exact order and there were about 13 balusters - and I could not for the life of my figure out the order. I disappeared for 10 minutes and poof! she had figured out something that had been stumping me for a few days.

We talked about a lot of things in that staircase. Her parents didn't understand her - they were making her be an engineer and all she really wanted to do was be a fireman (firewoman?). We had a lot of things in our childhood in common and wanted to live in quaint little houses that we'd fixed up ourselves when we were older (she worked at a similar position at Habitat for Humanity in Lafayette). She talked about owning her own place one day and having a space where she could work on cars - she really loved that. She was pretty masculine and told me, "but I can wear makeup sometimes," as if she was trying to prove to me that she can be a girl, that she's not always so rough. I recognized the need to defend herself for being herself as a soft and bruised spot and one I have too. We understood a lot about each other in that short time.

Toward the end of the week, I started to pull back from her because I sensed a little clinginess. Clinginess terrifies me.

I'm not sure what all of this amounts to, whether anything she told me was part of her reason. I've been hearing her voice in my head all day and I've been pretty wracked about it. This is particularly confusing because it's the middle of Mardi Gras season and everything is so fun and wonderful - booze and parades and plans and excitement - it's a ball. But there's also this. I didn't want to name her earlier because I don't want her parents to be able to google anything and find this post - that would only add to the hurt. But I also wanted to be truthful with what I know about her.

Good news next time, minions, I promise. Until then, I'll be a little brokenhearted but hoping that my sweet friend has finally found some peace and acceptance. We all deserve that.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Best video of all time

This one goes out to my girl, Kara Cooper, roommate extraordinaire of 2 years.

There are times when you are with a group of people and everyone is trying to one-up each other with their funniest youtube videos of cats, cute children, or lizards tripping on acid. This is the one I always use in these situations and it has yet to fail me. You're welcome, minions.

Monday, February 24, 2014

ALSO just had a great conversation with mah bestie Emily and she informs me that 2 blog posts ago, my strange and cryptic "I just can't, she just, I just can't :'(" post DIDN'T POST THE BRANDI CARLILE VIDEO THAT ACCOMPANIED IT. So I'm not having some crazy weird meltdown over social media over here, it was about her song. Apologies to all that were confused or concerned that I'd lost my mind. This is also for you, my one reader in Germany.


What's happening, my main minions?

A good friend of mine tipped me off about this guy earlier and I want you all to see it. He's pretty incredible.

Mardi gras season is officially upon us! I am currently sick in my bed - I had to leave work early because I was sealing a concrete floor and it was all I could do to not pass out and leave one of my poor coworkers to find me permanently urethaned to the floor. I got some acid on my legs and some nasty rope burns on my hands after almost falling off a roof last week. Sometimes I find myself doing these insane things and I realize that I love my job so much it scares me.

The parades have been awesome so far. Apparently from this Wednesday until next, it is going to be a marathon of parades and craziness. I hope I'll be able to stand upright by then without the aid of someone's arm or makeshift 2x4 crutches, but I'll wheelchair it around if I have to. I'll be there.

I like to think this year will be more than an accumulation of construction knowledge and a tangle of fresh memories. Being open and honest with people is hard for me. Sometimes it feels impossible. I used to deal with this by going to a solitary place and escaping in my music. When I had a shitty round of golf, I'd listen to this song by Ry Cooder (thanks dad). I wrap up people and feelings in songs; they're how I mark off events in my life. I can't hear this one without crying - I'm pretty sure it's how I've gotten through the past 4 months or so. I think it's funny how music can cut through all the bullshit and get to you right where you are.

Anyways, I keep writing these blog posts in my mind about golf and gender and relationships, but I find exposing myself on the internet to generally be a really terrible and fake-feeling way to iron out your mental wrinkles.

Haha but actually, this year has been a serious exercise in telling people what is really on my mind and it being okay when they don't like hearing it. Also learning that I am a 3 according to the Enneagram has given me ENORMOUS insight into my life. I'm so much a 3 it's ridiculous.

I think that's enough for now. I'll try to post some of the less incriminating photos from the next week soon. I already have some pretty spectacular ones but I don't want to ruin anyone's chances of running for office one day so I'll keep 'em locked up on my phone for the time being.

Blackmail is always a good asset to have on hand.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014


So today I had a traditional YAV experience in that I met face-on the overwhelming effects of poverty and I had no idea how to deal with it but to be totally emotionally steamrolled. I helped hand out food from church to lots of homeless folks under the I-10 underpass near St. Charles Street.

I've been attending a church that is (gasp!) not Presbyterian. This is for myriad reasons, most of which include a visceral reaction to and against church and spiritual-y things lately. I've almost had to get up and run out of church services several times over before finding the place I'm currently attending. It's been a strange phenomena that I'll probably try to tease out more in detail at some point for all you faithful readers out there, but for now I'll just say I've been attending a Metropolitan Community Church (MCC for short, goobers) that is progressive, the most friendly and welcoming place I've ever been, and mostly geared toward the queer community.

We had a potluck lunch today and they have started the tradition of boxing the leftovers and taking them around town to those who need/want it. Here's where I'll say that the single-handedly largest reason in this weird world that I'm still a Christian is the idea that God's love is for everyone, regardless of anything. And God is especially in it for the downtrodden and oppressed. This is exactly counter to our capitalist society that gives each person a value (i.e. rich person = very valuable, homeless person = no money, no contribution, totally useless, only saps resources). Therefore, no matter how many doubts I have about God's existence, the Bible's sometimes crazy misogynistic admonitions, and religion acting purely as a safety blanket, this crazy idea that every single fucking person in the world having the same enormous worth is too beautiful and perfect for me to resist. 'Cause it's all about me, goobs.

Anyways, I can't stop thinking about this one woman who drove up in a small SUV and beckoned me to her window. I was standing there next to the opened back of my friend Bob's (who is the Chief of Finances for the Loew's hotel downtown so we obviously stood out a wee tad) car, talking with other people who had seen us handing out drinks and styrofoam boxes. I walked over, slowly realizing that this woman was a hoarder. Like straight out of the A&E show. There was shit strapped to the top of her car, boxes and bags and other crazy things, and inside her car the only open air was where she was sitting (with a jittery dog in her lap) and about a square foot of airspace from the top of all the shit in her passenger seat to the roof of the car. The rest of it to the very back of the car was totally crammed with trash bags, and an inordinate amount of stuff. I asked her if she would like something to eat and she said she did. Then she beckoned me closer and I could sense that something was way off.

"I seem to have soiled myself earlier. I was wondering if you have a spare pair of pants?" She was holding her dog in her lap and I made no other reaction to this than but to sincerely apologize that we didn't have any pants but that I would look for napkins and anything else that I could find to help. As providence, or God, or coincidence would have it, Bob has prostate cancer and had adult diapers in his backseat. I put one in a plastic bag beneath her napkins and handed it to her through the window. Then she drove away.

I've been driving around the city on various trips today - coming home from church, to help a friend moveand I remember her face and I'll fall into tears. Last night, I went to a bar for the Saints game, went to an Ani Difranco concert, and spend several more hours at a bar on Frenchman listening to a band and getting drunk. The contrast is stark and is not lost on me. This woman has, to my knowledge, no feasible connections to getting help. I have a family, a strong support network, loving friends, and expectations for me that I will succeed and live a long and prosperous life. This woman has serious emotional and mental issues and is driving around New Orleans with soiled pants and a car full of garbage. Coming face to face with your privilege is a tough thing. It happens to me pretty much every single day, so don't think this is my first time meeting someone without all of my fancy conveniences.

I don't really have a point to this story except to say love each other and be grateful for your ties in life to people who can and would help if a real shitstorm ever blew over all of your life structures. I'm thankful for a God that says she is worth loving too.

Because she is.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Christmas Songs That Don't Suck

I've made a list of non-traditional ones for you guys. Some of these I think are amazingly beautiful while others are so ridiculous that I really just need someone else to hear this weird shit. And of course there are others somewhere inbetween.

1. Brandi Carlile - The Heartache Can Wait
2. Herbie Hancock ft. Corinne Bailey Rae - River (yep, the Joni Mitchell song. I prefer this version, and I'm not sorry about it)
3. Run D.M.C. - Christmas in Hollis
4. Tegan and Sara - The Chipmunk Song (ok, so you really just need to hear the first 30 seconds of it -  The rest is kinda terrible)
5. Rachel Yamagata - Baby Come Find Me At Christmas
6. Rufus Wainwright - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
7. Sufjan Stevens - That Was The Worst Christmas Ever! and Get Behind Me, Santa! (I mean these are honestly both for the titles. The second wins all awards ever for everything)
8. Ella Fitzgerald - Christmas Island and Good Morning Blues
9. Dean Martin - The Things We Did Last Summer
10. Wham! - Last Christmas (I mean this isn't a revolutionary pick, but come on. George Michael and other guy, this is the best Christmas song of all. Also, this video. The flashbacks are heart-wrenching. And they all packed so lightly for a weekend at the mountains! Maybe that's metaphorical for the light baggage he's carrying around for this woman that he's so obviously not attracted to. You can rest easy for a while, other guy)
11. Destiny's Child - Platinum Bells (oh hellz yes)
12. The Beach Boys - Melekal Ikimaka
13. Kem - A Christmas Song for You
14. Straight No Chaser - The Christmas Can-Can
15. Il Volo - Notte Stellata (The Swan)
16. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Christmas All Over Again (This song just reminds me of being a little kid when my parents would have Christmas parties...warm fuzzies, y'all)
17. Reba McEntire - The Christmas Guest (This song has so much dialogue and is probably the gouda-est thing ever, so be prepared. Also, "sit at the table and sup" is a real lyric in this song)
18. Elvis Presley - If Every Day Was Like Christmas Time
19. Norah Jones - Peace
20. Coldplay - Christmas Lights (don't you dare judge me)
21. Jeff Dunham - I Hate Christmas (Walter) and Jingle Bombs (Achmed)
22. Afroman - 12 J's of Christmas (this whole album is so offensive and ridiculous - this was the least incendiary one to put on my YAV blog - but so, so good. Don't listen to this one if you aren't okay with a little profanity)

So this concludes my recent binge of blog posts that come with a numerical list. I hope a couple of these songs will make you hate Christmas music a little less. Or at least you can imagine what Afroman would want for the last 2 days of Christmas that he didn't get to!