Monday, December 31, 2012

In Review

On paper or even a digital medium like this it would seem to most people that I had a banner year. I’ve had more opportunities than I’ve ever had in the past. I’m mere months away from earning my degree and maybe moving away and doing something new with my life. My triumphs this year have been numerous, but if sitting in a million undergraduate history courses has taught me anything it’s that years are not remembered by the good things but by their tragedies.

For instance no one remembers anything good from the year 2001. In that year there were countless babies born, astounding innovations in technology and some greatly terrible movies such as Zoolander. No one thinks of those things however. You only think about the tragedies, you only think about the crumbling buildings and the lives lost. I’m not saying that the good things don’t count but that the tragedies always trump them.

Back to me, this year I’ve done a number of things that I should feel incredible amounts of pride in. I am finally a legitimate published writer. I’ve had my name on the pages of a newspaper at least a hundred times in the past few months. I’ve made real inroads into other forms of media such as radio, where I’ve been freelancing since my internship last summer. I even got the chance to be a marketing intern for Microsoft. MICROSOFT! None of it matters.

Our years are only counted by the tragedies and not the triumphs. 2012 will never just be the year that I started my career in earnest. The year will always be known by me as the last time I spoke to Son Tran. The last time I saw his face or made him laugh. The year that should have been one of my best was instead marred by this one terrible thing.

I last spoke to him just a few hours before he died. Though the conversation was completely frivolous, I can’t help but playing it in a constant loop in my mind. I was studying for my first government test of the semester with the notes he had taken when he took the class. He called wanting to talk, and I told him that I was busy. I knew how he worked and that if he persuaded me to push off my studies that we would end up on the phone for hours. I could never have a short conversation with him, it was always hours long. As I was about to hang up he asked me if he should spend $200 on underwear. I don’t remember the brand or type of the undergarments, only that he had just received his student loan check days prior and wanted to blow some money.

I told him that he’d be an idiot to spend that kind of money on something like that. He eventually agreed with me and I got off the phone. I often wonder how things would have changed if that had happened differently. If I had put off my studies would we have talked for hours causing him to be too tired to go out that night? If I had told him I thought that $200 was a perfectly reasonable amount to spend on underwear, would he have felt so guilty for having ordered them that he would have stayed home that night to save money? Would he have died? Would he have lived?

I say this not to make it sound like I blame myself for what happened, but what if it had changed something? Would I have just been delaying the inevitable? Would someone who was so funny and fragile and leaning precariously on the edge have eventually met the same fate whether it be on that night or on a million other possible occasions?

If he had lived would my year have turned out any differently? I’m not always sure what I believe in, but what if all the great things that happened to me this year were given to me as a sort of peace offering? Some celestial being saying, look, I know I dealt you a hard hand when I took your friend away, so have these opportunities, take these things to ease the blow.

I would trade those things for him. I would trade my name in newsprint if it meant things could have turned out differently. I’d trade the paychecks for not having to feel like I can’t breathe whenever I drive past the spot where it happened. I would trade the whole year for him to have one more day. None of that matters, those things aren’t real.

I’m looking forward to 2013. I’m looking forward to moving on and branching out. I’m hoping that in 2013 for the first time the good things will finally outweigh the bad.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Now I'm in this corner trying to put it back together

We once watched a Britney Spears interview together in which she talked about how when she's sad she tells her assistant that it's raining. After that whenever you were having a bad day you'd call me and tell me it was raining. The sun could be bright but in your world it was storming. I did the best I could to be your umbrella ('ella, 'ella).
Now it's my life that has the inclement weather. Son, it's raining and I wish you were here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

When you're sinking like a stone...

A handful of months ago I had a lot of unfocused hopes for the future. Nothing was set in stone, but I had a fairly realistic plan of what I wanted to do with my life. Some of it was fantastical, but then again so is nearly every plan I have. Then something happened, and I was crushed and aimless.

I deflate easily. Like a balloon you're too cheap to pay to fill with helium at Party-City, and instead decide to expel your hot carbon-dioxide into. I lose sight of where I'm going with only the slightest of provocations. It's part of what makes me such a terrible driver. It's also part of the reason why I am where I am in life right now.

Though the bright part is that I start dreaming really fast too. Two weeks ago I started an internship. A couple of days later my friends asked me to move to Austin (where they will be living in the very near future) when they graduate. Suddenly I'm looking at apartments, and furniture at IKEA. I'm planning to transfer from the company I'm interning at into one of their Texas branches. I'm researching graduate schools in the area, I'm ordering a GRE review book. It takes almost nothing to get me going.

But I like the up-and-downess of my life. In a weird way it keeps me steady. If I didn't get discouraged easily, I'd live perpetually in that land of fantasy I am prone to escaping to. If I didn't get excited easily I'd live in a constant state of melancholia. This way I'm fairly balanced.

Needless to say I am both terribly excited about what might happen while at the same time waiting for someone to kick me in the nads just hard enough to get me to calm down.

(By the way I wrote this in the Blogger app. If it comes out well I might actually be posting more due to the sheer ease of the process.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kelli should probably copyright these things so that I can't pass them off as my own

Cool Things

Bryant and Kelli are coming in this weekend! 

Last weekend when I and some of Son Tran's closest friends threw him a memorial birthday party at a bar in which a man playing a guitar honored our request of playing Lucky by Britney Spears for him.

The buckyball things which I bought as a gift for someone, and decided to play with myself.  That shit is really cool, and also totally confusing.

Girl scout cookies are back.  I have the seven empty boxes of Samoas to prove it.

SMASH, which although is mildly embarrassing to admit that I watch, is still kind of like the more affluent person's Glee.

Uncool Things

If someone in a bar ever tells you to try an Irish Car Bomb, do not buy one for all of your friends and spend sixty dollars on them (like I did last weekend) because they are fucking terrible.  Seriously, just fucking awful.

People who I need to interview for one article or another, refusing to get back to me in a timely fashion.  Seriously, what is that about?  If ever someone thought I was interesting enough to warrant a feature story---I'd fucking grant an interview, posthaste.

When you realize that on more than one occasion you attended a birthday party/sleepover with someone who has now been convicted of owning child pornography.

Waking up with hangovers for four Saturdays in a row. 

That feeling I sometimes get that reminds me of things that I don't particularly feel like dealing with right now. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 I wrote this for my university's newspaper, for a column entitled 'Gribble Dribble'.  I'm well aware how bad that title is.
      There’s been a lot of news lately about death and destruction.  Last week, in a Cleveland Ohio adjacent high school a student opened fire, injuring five and killing three classmates.  Furthermore, 13 people died in storms that struck the Midwest.  Though, it isn’t all bad news as North Korea has finally agreed to conclude their nuclear testing, which means we no longer have to worry about that particular country bombing and killing thousands of our citizens. 

     The point is that the potential is there for too many people to be dying.  Natural disasters notwithstanding, there are no excuses for human beings to die for any reasons other than disease or famine.  We are technically animals, and other species do not kill one another unless it is over a territory dispute or for nourishment.  As long as we’ve all declared ourselves as a non-cannibalistic people, with well defined national borders, there should be no reason for one man to even think of killing another. 

     I’m not saying that these three groups didn’t have what they considered to be good reasons to do what they did.  Maybe the Ohio student was a victim of bullying, which made him pull the trigger.  Maybe North Korea felt threatened by other nations which spurred them to researching bomb making.  Maybe the weather felt threatened by mudslides and brushfires, and wanted to show them whose boss.  I have no clue as to why anyone or anything would choose to end a life; I just know that it has to stop. 

     Whatever happened to live and let live, or the golden rule, or cliché’s of the like?  When did we decide that we have the power to make these decisions?  Not to play into religion, but I’m pretty sure we are not intelligent enough to be making these kinds of choices, on who is or is not allowed to live.  And, sure natural selection is partly at play, but I think that all of us are mentally fit enough to decide that we do not want to perish.  So, why should it be that anyone else gets to end your life?

    We need to get the guns off the streets, and out of the hands of children.  We need to get the plutonium (or whatever those crazy terrorists are using to make bombs these days) off of the black market.   We need to get stronger Doppler radar and storm shelters.  We need to stop dying for needless reasons.  We need as many people alive as possible in case we do revert back to that whole cannibalism thing, because groceries are expensive. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All of our friends will go away, they're going to better places

I hope you'll excuse me if this post is scattered, but I can't seem to find an orderly way to say what I mean right now.  

Son Tran,

God, I hate that I'm writing this.  It feels like a goodbye letter, and I can tell you that the last thing I want to say to you, is goodbye. 

I think you would hate the idea of me writing about you.  Sure, you'd like the attention, but you probably wouldn't agree with anything I said.  You'd ask me to take it down, I'd say no.  You'd end up blackmailing me saying that you'd start a vicious rumor about me around the Mass Communications department.  I'd eventually cave and take it down.  That's how it would've played out.  I know you too well. 

God, I'm going to miss you Son Tran.

I've got to write this to you before I become to be too far away from it.  I don't mean to say that in a week's time I'll have gotten over it, but instead that every day that passes, every second that ticks by leaves me further away from you.  It's been five days, and already I feel that my memories of you are fading.  Yesterday I couldn't recall what your laugh sounded like.  This morning I found myself thinking about what you might say in a specific situation, and I couldn't for the life of me find your words. 

I just think that you should know that you were my closest friend.  Though I've had friends I've known longer, that have proved themselves to me countless times, you were my closest friend.  You were the one who was able to keep up with my day to day ridiculousness, the one who had to put up with me on a regular basis.  You  handled it deftly, like no one else could.  For that, I thank you. 

I don't think I've ever felt this alone.  It's not that I'm just sad that you won't be my constant companion anymore.  I can deal with being alone, what I can't deal with is you not being here at all.  I'd gladly take a world in which you were still here, even if it were a world in which we never knew each other.  Because the world needs you in it.  I could handle not knowing you, if it meant that someone else got to experience what it was like to be your friend. 

Saturday night Katie tried to get me to get a tattoo to commemorate you.  I knew I didn't need to do that, because I don't need any further reminders that you're not here.  I don't need a badly inked scar to remind me that you're gone.  It's only been five days, and yet I can feel it everywhere.  The night you died, I studied for a government test with the notes you took last semester (and they were laden with the profanity the world had come to expect from you).  Saturday while serving as a pall bearer at your funeral, I wore the suit you helped me pick out last February when I was a pall bearer at my grandmother's funeral.  Today I ate the Vietnamese food that I love, that I never would have tried in the first place without your insistence.  Simply put, you are already everywhere.  I cannot escape the person that you helped me to become. 

And you did help me become this person.  I've known you so long that you are a part of me, a part of who I am.  When I met you, you were the boy who passed out fortune cookies form his backpack between classes.  The boy who created line dances during second lunch. The boy who let me know that it was okay to be different, to be loud and unruly, to be myself a hundred percent of the time.  And then you were the man who smoked too much, the man who did what he wanted, damn the consequences.  As much as I had learned from you in the past, you also became somewhat of a cautionary tale of sorts, the kind in which a person has too much freedom, and no idea what to do with it.  You died the way you lived, independent and reckless. 

I haven't quite grasped the concept that you're no longer here.  I can't think of you in past tense yet.  It's still "he is, he does", instead of "he had, he did", and it's going to be hard to start thinking of you as a part of my past.  I just can't make sense of this.

Though, if there's one last thing I'd like to tell you, it's of a memory I have.  A couple of weeks ago you were having a particularly bad day, and you called me to talk you down from your crazy as you usually did.  I don't know how we got on the topic, but I mentioned how fortunate I believed myself to be to call you my friend.  I told you that I know how seldom we get to choose who our friends are.  It's not up to us to decide, usually.  I did not seek you out, but it happened anyways.  I said that even if I had been able to choose my friends, I would have still picked you.  I'd pick you, again and again, no question.  So, I'd like to thank you Son Tran for coming into my life, and tell you that I'll never forgive you for leaving it so soon. 

Your Friend, Jordan Gribble

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rivers and roads

Today was a good day.  I ran my first Society for Professional Journalists meeting as President.  I made inroads in starting my own publication (more on that later).  I interviewed a U.S. senator.  I miss your face like hell, but that's alright; that I can deal with.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I do what I like

Tomorrow I'm starting my second to last semester tomorrow.  What, What?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Today, I wanted to post something on Postarita because I miss it.  I am Postarita, because I am nothing if I am not words that mean nothing.  But, I've started this other thing, and I'm not going to just abandon it.  So let's drop the pretenses of what this blog is supposed to be about, and let's write it out old-school Postarita style.  Actually, no let's do this up RedBrick style.

Cool Things in 2011

Getting paid to write, and interviewing interesting people that I never would have encountered otherwise.  Getting to see Bryant and Kelli, and realizing that months and experiences unshared don't matter with people like this.  Almost falling. Doing things that I had no reason to believe I'd ever be doing, like getting drunk in the French Quarter, or going to a strip club, or writing a radio commercial (that actually aired on the radio!), or eating raw oysters, or being asked to be in someone's wedding, or going to journalism conferences and luncheons, or throwing up at an International House of Pancakes; you know the things that I'll remember.  Seeing Britney Spears for the second time, and Reba for the seventh.  Becoming friends with people who are so awesome, that I would have never picked them out myself.  Feeling superior.  Driving around with my sister, and remembering, and crying because of the things that I remembered.  Entering a writing contest with Kelli.  Watching Son Tran throw up in front of a crowd of fellow Asians on Bourbon Street, while they looked on in disgust. 

Uncool Things in 2011

2011 was the last time I ever saw my Grandma, the last time I ever held her hand, kissed her on the forehead, or made her laugh.  Being too busy to read, too busy to watch T.V., too busy to hang out, too busy to play XBOX, too busy to talk on the phone, too busy to do anything very well.  Not falling hard enough, and not being the kind of person whose worth falling for.  Having to suffer through reading "The Sun Also Rises", and yet still flunking my American Literature final last semester.  Feeling inferior.