Friday, October 16, 2009

some music for the weekend.

Here's some music that is perfect for a rainy, cold NYC day, or for you all to enjoy over the weekend. Fair warning, I'm posting because the music is awesome, the videos, maybe/maybe not...

Heartbreaker by MSTRKRFT feat. John Legend
In my head, I never would have imagined a collaboration between MSTRKRFT and John Legend would be as good as it turned out to be. Also, I do not know what game is being played, but I could probably waste hours playing it...

Zap Zap by Cut Copy

Great Australian band. A little 80s, electropop beats and general fun.

Asleep by The Smiths
Any fan of Perks of Being a Wallflower will love this one. AMAZING song.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

life-changing moments and changing-life moments

It had been just over a month since my high school graduation, where, with a sense of accomplishment, I stood under the lights of the stadium at the school where I spent many days. My entire high school experience, ending. Signified by tossing a hat into the air. A hideous, purple hat. Flung high into the swarm of insects that had taken over the muggy sky.

It was the day of my eighteenth birthday, July 3, 2003, and I was standing somewhere very different than good ol' Bobcat Stadium. I was at the Harrison County office of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Now be sure to line up your toes against the blue tape and look up here,” the middle-aged woman, who had most likely lived in East Texas her entire life, bellowed out across the linoleum desert between us. “Now move to the left a little, and give me a big smile. Come on now. You’ll have this license for a long time and you don’t want a bad picture, do you?”

I smiled. Puka shell necklace and all. They were “cool” then, right?


“Well, honey, we’re all done,” she said. “You should get your license in a couple weeks.”

I kept smiling as I signed the machine and turned to walk out the door. I was eighteen. On top of the world. As the motivational posters always said, “the sky was the limit.” I always hated that poster for some reason.

A couple of weeks later, I received my license just as the nice lady said. I tore open the envelope while standing in the kitchen at my house.

“Expires: July 3, 2009,” I read out loud. “Wow, that’s such a long time away.”

Of course at that time, the only date that mattered to me was the one a little over a month away, the day on which I would be pulling out of the driveway and down the old roads I drove on everyday for years, heading to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, an unfamiliar place I would be calling home for the next stage of my life, yet still, that would only be four years.


Standing in a crowded subway car on my way to work in the heart of Manhattan, I suddenly remembered something.

“Oh man,” I thought to myself. “If I don’t renew my license online soon, I’ll have to give up having a Texas ID.”

There were only a few more days until July 3, 2009; it was just another abnormally rainy New-York-City day in June.

The train stopped on the tracks, frozen in a tunnel beneath the city, not an unusual occurrence on my now routine morning commute. I abandoned having a car months ago when I moved, now solely at the will of the MTA.

Another train passed by on the tracks adjacent to ours. Looking out the doors across from me, I drifted from thoughts of renewing my license and saw my reflection in the passing train. door. metal. window. metal. door. metal. window. door.

It seemed as though I was dancing as I watched my figure reflect off the varying surfaces, at some moments seeing the faces of the other train's passengers sharply cut through my ghost-like presence, dancing.

My trance was broken as the train lurched forward.

"I can't believe it's been so long since I got my license," I thought as I started right back into my earlier thoughts. "2003 was so long ago. Six years? That’s forever."

And it was true, so much had happened in the six years between the two times I reflected upon the date printed on the small piece of plastic that lived in my wallet. I had earned a degree at the once unfamiliar place I grew to call home, I flew for the first time and kept on doing it, there were people I loved whom I saw for the last time, I had made the decision to move across the country—more than once.

There were life-changing moments and changing-life moments.

At that point, the six years that once felt as if it would take an eternity to live through only existed in memories.

Finally, as I emerged from the subway onto a street engulfed by buildings hundreds of feet tall, I made my way down the busy street to my office building. Gripping the ugly purple bag that held the bagel and coffee I bought from the same people I buy a bagel and coffee from every day in one hand, and an open umbrella in the other.

Just a year prior I had to tolerate slow cars and pass by Dairy Queens and pastures as I drove to work, to my first "real" job.

Now on the way to the office I maneuver around apprehensive pedestrians to cross the street without a sign telling me it's legal to do so, surrounded by the buildings I once only saw on screens and in photographs from past trips.


“Please confirm the below address and submit to renew your Texas Drivers License,” the screen on my computer told me.

I did.

“Thank you. You will be receiving your new license in a couple of weeks.” I thought of the lady who had snapped my picture six years before. Was she still in the same chair?

A few weeks passed and the shiny new piece of plastic my computer had promised me arrived.

I opened the envelope and looked down at it.

“Expires: July 3, 2015,” I read out loud. “Wow, that’s such a long time away.”

I don’t know where I’ll be standing on July 3, 2015. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The only things that should be scripted are movies and speeches—not life.

So while I don’t know where I’ll be, or what I’ll be doing on the day I turn 30, I welcome the memories that will be made in the next six-year chapter of my life, the firsts and the lasts…the uncertainty. Well, I’m sure there will at least be a few certainties.

Chances are good that I still won’t like the color purple.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Way I See It # 21

One of my favorite things to do is to hear other people’s views on things…no matter the topic. I can’t even think of a topic I would consider taboo either. Why? One small reason is that there are more than six billion people alive right now. That means there is a multitude of stuff out there I will never be able to experience, let alone come close to fully understand. Cultures, foods, customs, beliefs, etc. The best way for me to even attempt to understand it all is by talking to people who aren’t like me. And yes, even those who are like me.

To me, our differences are what make us who we are. Individuals. Unique individuals. What we believe in, what we stand for, our political persuasion, religious preference, gender preference, where we live, where we come from, the whole enchilada. Some people view certain topics as taboo, when they shouldn’t be. Because when you really think about it, open discourse with people who aren’t like you is pretty much the only way to ever know how to communicate with people who, well, aren’t like you…it’s not rocket science. How boring would the world be if it were full of six billion clones of you…or me! Despite all of our differences, we are all human. It blows my mind that people ever thought—and that people still do think—that one race, gender, nationality, denomination, anything, somehow makes them “better” than someone else.

As I was sitting at Starbucks tonight (I know, I know…I had a gift card) talking with a good friend about a multitude of topics I won’t even begin to list here, some of which we agreed on and some of which we did not, I happened to look down at my cup and read the lovely black letters that adorned my hot and tasty vanilla latte. A simple quote from some musician I had never heard of, Youssou N’Dour. And yes, it was what inspired me to actually post this lovely update on my blog. It was, in my opinion, (a) by far my favorite quote from the “The Way I See It” campaign at Starbucks, and (b) something we should all acknowledge and think about.

The Way I See It # 21
“People need to see that, far from being an obstacle, the world’s diversity of languages, religions and traditions is a great treasure, affording us precious opportunities to recognize ourselves in others.” –Youssou N’Dour, musician.

Agree with it or disagree with it, but at least think about it. If we didn’t all have a passion for something different, something new, something undiscovered, there would be no such things as the Travel Channel for instance, or vacations at all. As humans, we have an intrinsic need for interaction with others. We are programmed to interact, not to ignore what is around us.

We can all think of that person who just got back from a trip or new adventure and wants to show everyone the hundreds of pictures they took, to show them what they experienced, what they saw and did. Be it the “oohs and ahhs” that normally follow the pictures of places you’ve never been, or the piqued curiosity of watching others eat “gross foods” in foreign countries, our fascination with different things is there. Embrace it once and a while.

So, with all that said, why not go and learn about something different? Pick a specific person, culture, denomination, country, language, religion, gender, anything. See if you can relate something about it to yourself. You might be surprised that it’s not so hard to do after all.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Beetle Bailey and Garfield and Blondie, OH MY!

Today I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I sat at the kitchen table and read the Sunday Comics. It may seem sort of inconsequential, but it was something I used to do every Sunday morning before having to get ready for church. Oddly enough, the comics really made me think.

Yes, they really did. It sounds weird, but hear me out. I moved back to East Texas almost exactly a year ago. After four and a half years of living elsewhere, it was much more difficult, and unexpected, than I had ever imagined. It is really weird moving “home” to somewhere that didn’t feel like home anymore. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a blast since I moved back and have made some great friends. It is just weird remaking memories in the same places you already have made a lifetime of them. Mixing nostalgia with the present I guess.

Anyway, as I sat there and read the comics, I realized that the characters I read about when I was a kid had all stayed exactly the same. Epiphany? Maybe. But it really made me realize how much I had changed since I used to sit at the same table all those years ago (I say as if I’m older than 23…)

I made it through high school, graduated from high school, moved to Bama, graduated from Bama, moved back to E.Tex, got a “real job,” quit my “real job,” done a lot of living in between and am moving to New York in two weeks. All that, and freaking Marvin is still in diapers. But that wasn’t the only thing that had stayed the same in the comics.

The Lockhorns’ marriage is still continually falling apart. Maybe all that marriage counseling won’t work.

Beetle Bailey is still getting beat up by the Sarge. Man up, Beetle. Man up. And why is the Sarge always so angry in the first place? Pent up sexual frustration perhaps?

That slut Michelle STILL won’t go out with Curtis. Give up, man. She’s probably really sketchy anyway.

Snuffy Smith is still an accurate depiction of how trashy, lazy people who can't get over the 1800s live in America. Corncob pipe, lack of utilities and all…

The Family Circus still disgusts me with its “cuteness” and overtly right-wing agenda. :)

Garfield will forever be one of the only cats I will ever like.

Sally Forth is still boring. Really boring. Let's face it, middle-class white people living normal lives just aren't that interesting.

Dagwood still hasn’t been fired from his job. And likes to take naps, and his neighbor still has a creeper mustache.

Hagar is still horrible.

Dennis is still a menace.

And Slylock Fox still solves petty crimes. Today however, there was a typo in Slylock Fox. It makes me wonder how he can figure out what drives Cassandra Cat to criminal activity, but can’t figure out how to make a subject and verb agree.

I guess that’s why so many people enjoy reading the comics. No matter what happens in their lives they always know the same smiling, never-changing faces will be waiting for them on Sunday morning. But seriously, how the hell has Prince Valiant managed to stay in there every week? I mean does anyone actually read it?

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm Moving to New York City

“It comes down to reality-and its fine with me cause I’ve let it slide,
Don’t care if its Chinatown or Riverside,
I don’t have any reasons; I’ve left them all behind
I’m in a New York state of mind.”

—New York State of Mind, Billy Joel

How come it always seems that no matter how you feel or what you want to say, it’s probably already somewhere out there in a song. Billy Joel pretty much nails it, “I’m in a New York state of mind.”

Translation: I’m moving up there.

Yes, I’m moving to New York City. After nearly a year back in East Texas (a move I never thought I would ever make) it is time for me to pack up and move out again. A spot opened up at a house with some very cool people (shout out: Josh, Allison, Carole and Gina) and I decided to jump at it. I’ll be moving up there sometime the first week of November. These things take planning, and I haven’t nailed down the final move date yet J I do know my final day at LETU will be October 22. Mark your calendars people, I expect many a free lunch between now and then...jk

No, I don’t have a job yet, but I do have plans and that counts for something. I will follow in the recent footsteps of the great Josh Mallory and Gina Miller and make the move sans-job. All of that will work itself out, I have faith that it will…who knows, maybe I’ll decide a coffee shop or book store will suit me just fine haha. All I know is that I will be doing something I have always wanted to do…live in New York.

And here’s the tie back to the beginning sentence about songs…Lou Reed sang, “New York City is the place where they said: Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.” And even though Rilo Kiley was singing about California when they said this, they couldn’t have said it any better:

“I’ve got my best shoes on, I’m ready to go.”

Monday, August 25, 2008


Someone at work the other day was talking about how their mom once told them that she could remember at least 10 different people she had been throughout her life. She didn’t mean that she had physically been ten different people with new names, new identities and a different life for each. What she meant was that there had been 10 phases, chapters if you will, that summarized her life.

I didn’t ask for details, partly because my mind had already started to run down a bunny trail of thought about how that line of thought would make a great book. Each chapter details a different chapter of your life. Each one introducing new personality traits, experiences, supporting characters. How many chapters could I fill up I wondered.

Of course you would have to start with baby Kyle. I don’t actually remember this chapter from personal experiences. I have seen many pictures and heard a lot of stories of my childhood. My mind has combined the two to where when I see a picture of myself as a child and I see it play out how I imagine it would have. I see myself climbing to the top of the tallest slide in the park across from the house I lived in out in Odessa, TX, when personally I have no recollection of this. Even though I had just learned to walk, somehow I climbed the tallest slide out there. From that moment on, I climbed everything…The climbing chapter.

I would outline many of the other chapters I can see in my own life, but why post all of my book material on here? :) Maybe I will start writing that book soon…think about it though. How many chapters do you see in your own life? It is a fun thing to really analyze how different you are from each chapter in your life. The new characters you have met, the traits you have picked up, the plot twists and turn of events.

As far as the chapter I am in now? I guess it started almost a year ago when I moved back to Texas…so far this chapter alone would fill up an entire post, so I’ll spare all of the details for now. Each chapter is new and different, and even though there are past chapters with the same plot settings (East Texas) as this has been as different as the chapter(s) about Univ. of Alabama Kyle.

Who knows when the page will turn and start a new one…

Monday, July 7, 2008

Speak clearly into the receiver, "f-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-i-o-n."

It dawned on me the other day that it has been close to 5 years since I’ve been to the doctor. Seemingly healthy, I continue just to live out my daily life as be. While in college, I would visit the medical center from time to time to get an antibiotic when I felt a cold coming on, or to have my knee checked out that one time I thought I messed it up trying to cross the road (don’t judge me…I was trying not to get hit by a car and I planted wrong).

Being the forward-thinking individual I am, I decided to schedule an appointment here in town just to play it safe. I asked a few people whom I should call, and several people mentioned a general practice physician: Dr. Sita Devulapalli. Yes. Fifteen letters. (That’s the literary element known as foreshadowing there kiddos)

Not knowing, and never previously caring, I decided to call my insurance company to inquire if a visit to Dr. Devulapalli’s office would be covered in my plan. I finally locate the 1-800 number on my insurance card and dial away. I would still like to meet the person who thought using 6 point font on a wallet-sized card was a good idea. I’m not even old and it took me a few minutes to make out what the number was.

There’s a lot of debate right now about universal healthcare—some say everyone should have equal access while others disagree and think we should tweak the system in place…all I want is to never have to deal with a machine over the phone again.

The computer generated voice seemed friendly enough to begin with. “Hello,” it greeted me cheerfully. “Welcome to your insurance provider.” Smooth sailing, I thought. “Please listen to the following menu for your options.” Some of the things they included together as options still have me shaking my head in wonder. “If you have an inquiry about the coverage your company provides, or wish to add coverage for sexually transmitted diseases, press one.” Whoa. What if I press one, but the phone cuts out? Will this friendly voice on the other line forever think that I, Kyle, am somewhere out there on pins and needles wondering if my monthly Valtrex prescription will be covered? You may laugh, but you know they track your phone number.

After successfully maneuvering my way through several menus, still under the direction of the friendly voice, I hear the option I needed: “If you would like to search for a specific doctor in your area, press two.” It felt as if I began to round the corner of the track and sprint towards a victory…but then the computer opened its stupid mouth again.

“Do you know the name of the doctor you are looking for?” I was calmly asked. “Yes,” I said clearly into the phone. “Good, please spell the doctor’s last name, letter by letter.” I was scared, but gave it my best shot, “D-e-v-u-l-a-p-a-l-l-i.” The uncomfortable silence worried me. “I’m sorry,” my computer friend said as if I had failed it. “I didn’t get all that. Please spell the last name again, and more clearly.” The one time I call a customer service line and the person on the other end isn’t in India—I’m trying to spell an Indian name. How’s that for irony?

Unwilling to be deterred from my future health and well-being by a computer, I carefully spelled the name again, “D-e-v-u-l-a-p-a-l-l-i.” Surely this time it would understand. Surely, I was wrong. “OK,” the computer said in a flinching tone. “This time, say only the first three letters, and hit the pound key after each letter.” I felt like I had inappropriately been put into the slow class at school. Little did I know, the horror was far from over.

“D,” I forcibly yelled into the receiver as I hit the pound key thinking the cocky computer would feel it. “If you said B, as in boy, press one. If you said T, as in Tom, press two. If you said V, as in vase, press three. If you said E, as in Eagle, press four.” This seriously happened. Surely it was just be taunting me at this point. I mean, I was already over ten minutes into the phone call. I envisioned a man named Will crouched around the computer; he wore horn-rimmed glasses and called out to his buddy across the room, “Hey Carl! We have a yeller!”

The overwhelming urge to give up began to sweep over me, but then I remembered that I’m an American, and if I were to quit, it would mean the terrorists are winning. I used my middle finger to threateningly push the star key signaling that I obviously am not able to properly pronounce the fourth letter of the alphabet I memorized some 19 years ago. “D!” I was screaming at this point. The stupid voice finally recognized that I had said D as in dog. “E!” I screamed even louder. The computer had the nerve to ask me if I was finished saying the first three letters before I even had the chance to hit the pound key. Again, not a joke.

I appreciate technology as much as the next person, but when it begins to cop an attitude with me, I get pissed. For a split second, I actually wished I were talking to a Furby—it was that bad. The blood began to boil inside me. I could feel my heart rate start to increase. I wondered if the computer was trying to make me have an aneurysm and force me to pay the insurance company money.

I could see the computer’s face. Taunting me with its questions, “Please start over again and say the first three letters of the last name of the doctor you wish to search for.” I cannot remember the last time I was this frustrated. I again contemplated just giving up, but like I mentioned, I’m an American. Obviously my silence bothered the bastardly invention as it began to ask me again to say the three letters. “I’m here you idiot!” I nastily quipped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that, please repeat the first three letters of the doctor’s…” I cut it off in mid sentence. “F!” the rage came out. “U!” my fist clenched around the phone as I continued to scream at it this time instead of into it. “C!” no machine would get the best of me. “There’s three letters, if you’re so smart, you figure the rest of it out!!” I slammed the phone down. I imagined Will and Carl taken aback by the anger. I wondered if they figured it out. I hoped the computer got a virus. My twenty-minute verbal fiasco was over, and I had failed to properly spell three letters for a computer.

I quickly became ashamed that a computer had frustrated me so much, and quietly began to watch TV again, glad that no one had been around to witness my meltdown. You see, I normally never react to anything like that. I contemplated calling the computer back to apologize; after all, it had been friendly in the beginning. Ultimately, I decided not to though, I shuddered at the thought of having to spell “I-M-S-O-R-R-Y.” How would it know where to put the apostrophe?

I still haven’t scheduled a doctor’s appointment.