Ruminations

Why Tom Petty Was Hard to Kill

Killing Tom Petty wasn’t easy.

The formidable grunge wave of the nineties couldn’t make him irrelevant. The demise of a 22-year relationship that precipitated an oppressive depression and sent him retreating to an isolated cabin in the woods couldn’t do it. A father that “beat the shit” out of him couldn’t do it. Heroin failed. And an arsonist who burned down his house couldn’t do the trick.

In the end, some biological cowardice snuck up on Petty when he wasn’t looking: cardiac arrest.

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Meaningful Media, Part 2

Last August, I was stuck in a rut, seemingly incapable of producing art, able only to consume it. I realized that while I yearned to create and chaffed at my apparent failure, being surrounded by wonderful films and TV shows and essays of the caliber I hoped to one day create actually wasn't the worst thing. So I settled into my role as consumer, and resigned myself to producing just a few worthwhile reflections on the art I liked. It helped me to create both a time capsule of the things that inspired me at the time, and ultimately helped me to get out of my rut. Today, some seven months later, I find myself in that place again -- totally stuck. But I've learned since then, so I'm skipping the whining and going straight to the appreciation of other's successes.

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No Re-Joyce Here

Every few months or year, you meet someone so unwilling to share their essence, you come away with a task, an exoskeleton to crack, some fleshy part to find and poke at. But that’s usually a misguided assumption; often, people who seem cloaked in steel aren’t hiding. Rather, they’re being painfully honest about who they are, and who they are is pricklier than a fire blanket after emergency use. 

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Readin', Writin', and Morality?

This fall, nearly 50 million American children began school at a public institution. For the past few months, they've been going to class for seven or eight hours a day, five days a week. They listen to short lectures from their teachers and work on practice problems. The math builds upon itself over the years and the readings become denser with each ascending grade, all according to a pre-planned curriculum. But in between lesson plans and test preparation, an even more important type of learning is taking place: Social learning.

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A New Year in . . . Earshot

The draw toward New Year's resolutions seem to be written in our DNA. The desire to better ourselves feels as innate as the code for the colors in our eyes. I am no different: I see flaws in myself and hope to remedy them. I feel time pass and hope that I progress alongside it. In the past, I've set goals that related to my body, like a strict diet or exercise regimen, or to professional goals, like having my work published in a magazine. This year, however, I plan to work on my hearing. 

By that I mean, my 2015 new year's resolution is to be a better listener.  

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A Year in Review

In January, I cried because I made my mother cry. I was in Portland in to see Mike Birbiglia, my favorite comedian, preform. I promised I'd call her when we got back to the hotel, but I didn't. I went to bed and awoke to the maid, who had been called my panicked parent, knocking on the door saying there was a call for me at the front desk. When I got ahold of her, I could hear the panic in her voice, and though it didn't diminish the excitement of the weekend, the memory of Mike retweeting me will always be intertwined with my small failure as a daughter. 

My whole year was like this: Wonderful experiences, moments of pure joy, tempered by growing pains and true sadness. 

I have been fortunate enough to sit back and reflect at the end of each year of my life thus far and say, with conviction and contentment, that it was better than the last. This year was no different. I may have cried more in 2014 than any other, but I also laughed more and worked harder than ever before.

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Sony's Skeletons

The so-called Guardians of the Peace recently orchestrated a stunning cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the industry powerhouse that brought us "Men in Black" and "21 Jump Street" and, if the emails obtained in this lightning raid are to believed, a future franchise combining the class and aliens of the first film with the drugs and sass of the latter. 

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