Green Paper House

A blog about being a broke twenty-something grad student in L.A. At least the good parts.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My senses take me back

What compelled me to come back and write after another three month hiatus? Just take a look at two posts before this - something about listening to music that I was into during college makes me want.. to... write... a... novel. Seriously, I would be laughing if it weren't so sad and true. I've been very busy, and I think about writing, but I don't. I also think about playing guitar, but I don't. Then I have a free Friday night and I decide to listen to old 7"s. And I'm 19 again and I just want to write about my feelings all night.

I was actually reminiscing on the bus ride home today that even the last year of college is now fading away. I remember thinking sometime in the middle of college that high school seemed far enough in the past to not count anymore, and I was eager to embrace that as I hated high school (although, in retrospect, I took everything a little too seriously), and I was now a different person, a grown-up. Now, it's just kind of scary. Because I think I like the younger (21) me better sometimes. I'm much more even-keeled now, but back then I had a lot of friends, had a lot of energy, and was generally a lot more optimistic.

So what the hell was I listening to in college? Mostly, emo and hardcore in the beginning, and more mathrock and post-punk later. Tonight, I've been listening to Texas is the Reason, The Promise Ring, I Hate Myself, Twelve Hour Turn (one of my all-time favorite Florida bands), The Get Up Kids (I listened to Something to Write Home About my entire freshman year), Hot Water Music (obligatory for Florida residents), Piebald, Braid, and I'll just stop writing because I think the picture is clear.

Fuck, it's been five years since I've been in a band. And I like to imagine that I'll always be involved in music, I'm just on a break because of grad school. When in reality, it's probably more like I'm on a break because of grad school, but after that it's a postdoc, and then a real job that will take up entirely too much of my time, then settling into family life sometime after that. And there are probably no more bands in my future. That is depressing.

I think it's just the aches of leaving youth behind. I don't really want to go to house parties and drink cheap beer until I puke anymore, or make out with two people in one night (true story). But I do want those moments back sometimes. The wide-eyed awe with which I took it all in my freshman year - when I would go with K.C. and Lowell to shows, sometimes up to Orlando just for the night. Finally joining a really good band during my last year in Miami, and spending a lot of late nights with the best set of guys I had known at that point!

I'm sure looking at this from the outside it seems so trite. But I don't think I'm doing it justice. And I suppose what I'm saying is fairly universal; most people, at some point in their youth, had experiences that they want to relive over and over. Whatever they may be. For me, Miami will always be a singular time in my life - I was only there between 17 and 21, and a lot of important growing up happened there. Things that I'll never associate with California (the only other place where I have lived), like the thought of humidity, automatically make me think of Dillon, Tony, and myself driving somewhere late at night with the windows down (because it's never cold at night) and some amazing new CD blasting. Always.

I should perform an experiment. I should come back again to write later while listening to something very current for me - like the new Portishead or something - and see how different my writing becomes. I'll suddenly write about the Democratic primaries, why we should leave Iran the hell alone, the postdoc position I'm starting in September, how I'm worried about my parents getting older, and generally sound my age. It would be interesting.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One third of a year

I just did a hand count and it's been almost four months since the last post. I know I get busy, but I have to ask myself if I'm actually so busy that I can't reflect on life at least once every four months.

A long, long time ago I had a blog, before they were called blogs, and although it was anonymous, I posted so many details that everyone I knew found about it, read it, and laughed behind my back. It was especially mortifying because the boy I had a huge crush on, and who I wrote many an emotional post about, also found out. I later had a talk with a friend who also had a blog, and he said he thought it was sort of brave of me to put it all out there, that he felt he had to filter a lot out. I think he was just trying to be nice.

Right now I could just spill and spill and spill, because that's when I really need to write, when there's a lot to spill; too much going on in the head. But I guess I'm just choosing to filter, which leads to four month breaks. Because when I filter all the really personal stuff out, there's not much left. Finishing up my Ph.D., but I'm not sure what fulfillment I would get out of writing all those details down. Not going to too many shows. I have been getting some new music, thanks to a few Amoeba trips.

Trying to figure out what the hell to do after my school life is over, while trying to pretend that it's not a huge decision that is going to involve a lot of emotional issues for me. Hah! I've always been a student, it's practically who I am. Once that is taken away... it's kind of like looking over a large chasm right now.

B and I will be going up to San Francisco this weekend, which should be nice. I love San Francisco. I really love going to Aquarius Records, and Amoeba. And San Francisco always leaves me feeling content. I would like to live there if it didn't cost $2398723498734 to live there.

Listening: Sunny Day Real Estate - Rising Tide, and Tarentel - From Bone To Satellite

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another month bites the dust

Well, there went October. Busy, busy month.

Lots of shows: saw Yellow Swans at the Smell (excellent, excellent set), William Basinski at the Hammer Museum, and Mum at The Orpheum. Thurston Moore is next Tuesday. Other good shows coming up too.

Drove down to San Diego for Jessica's birthday party.

Started guitar class again; intermediate guitar is going to focus a lot more on guitar theory. Violin 3 starts tomorrow.

And...kept working out! Fuckin'-a right. Averaging four times a week; spinning, step, and various cardio machines. I don't know if I look any different, but with the way I feel, I couldn't care less. I feel like I did back when I was 19.

I've got a birthday coming up, a trip to Hawaii with my mom. Shit, I'm even writing a new paper, moving my research along.

Life is damn good.

Despite all that, I can still listen to certain records that I connected with in college, when I think I had a lot more emotional stuff going on, and it just overtakes me. I want to go back, I want to do it all over again (of course with all the knowledge I've gained in the meantime). I think it has something to do with the ever increasing realization that mortality is not abstract, it's not a matter of chance. It's as real as it gets, and we only get one shot with this youth thing. When it's gone, it's gone. I don't want it to be gone.

Listening: Tragedy - Nerve Damage

Monday, October 1, 2007


Well, it's official: I'm out of shape. Not kind of, or in an 'I could be more in shape' way. Out. Of. Shape.

2007 has been an interesting year for me. A lot of things have changed in my life; major things like a three year relationship ending and the ensuing change in the living situation, a new relationship, trying to get to the end of my educational career before I turn thirty (o.k. it will be long before I turn thirty, but still). In all that change, I had a lot of time to reflect on the priorities in my life, and realized I had let a lot of my interests stagnate. Aside from music, which has always been the number one thing I turn to outside of school, I had let a lot of friendships go, I didn't seek out new and interesting activities, I quit the radio station.

And I hadn't worked out in about six years. Since I lived in the dorms at UM. That's just sad. For a while, it didn't matter as much, since I was vegan. I was staying pretty healthy with my diet and a bit of walking. But the desire for overly decadent desserts and pizza overtook my willpower, and so even that (a five year commitment) became a thing of the past.

But over the past six months, I decided that I was going to make life more interesting for myself, outside of any relationship or the things I do at school/in lab. I started taking guitar lessons, violin lessons, blogged a little bit (o.k. not that interesting), and I'm taking some well deserved vacation time.

Seeing as it the beginning of a new year (having been a student for twenty years now, my year is September - June, with a three month hiatus) I decided it was time to bring regular physical activity back into my life. As a graduate student, the gym fee is already covered in the quarterly costs assessed before the term starts. However, I have always been bad at going regularly, and pushing myself enough to get a good workout. I decided to purchase the 'Fitness Pass', which allows me to attend any of the group style classes that take place all throughout the week. Today, being the first day for me, I chose to go to a novice spin class. I like the sound of 'novice'.

Just getting there, and I was proud of myself for getting over the first hurdle of just going. Set the bar low. Thank goodness it was so low, because I was pooped after the first half. I couldn't even do the parts where you stand up off the seat and ride the bike. I just had to stay sitting and try to keep it at the same pace as everyone else. So sad.

The upsides to this, thankfully there are upsides, are that today served as a wake up call to me letting me know just how out of shape I am, and I can only go up from here! That is optimism my friends.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Going to see Low tonight at The Troubadour. I love Low. I am excited to see them in a small venue again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


How can someone not have enough time to blog in a whole month?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

international vacation

B and I are leaving for the beautiful country of Costa Rica tomorrow morning, but I'm going over to his place in a few hours as he lives very close to LAX. My stomach is all tied up in knots - I have to admit it's nervousness. Going out of the country, leaving my cat for ten days (I am so lame, she is in good hands, but I know she will be depressed. I am so lame.), did I pack enough stuff?, do I have enough cash?. Stuff that really isn't a big deal, but when I put them all together my mind starts to race a little. Control freak much? Uh, duh. I've got my passport, wallet, lots of clothes, my camera, some flip-flops....and lots of other things, but really, I think I've got my bases covered.

I'm sure I'll be fine once we're there, and I'm drinking a fine Costa Rican alcoholic drink, lying on the beach or hanging out on the balcony....ahh I wish it was tomorrow already.