Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving. May your family gatherings be warm and your football games exciting (Go Eagles!).

I will leave you with a clip from one of my favorite Thanksgiving TV episodes of all time, "Thanksgiving Orphans" from season five of "Cheers" - if nothing else, just skip ahead to the food fight at the 5:37 mark and just remember that the payoff at the end has to do with the fact that during the entire 11 seasons of the show, you never once saw the face of Norm's wife Vera.

Grab a plate of pumpkin pie and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A New "Day & Age"

I have gone back and forth the past few days in deciding whether I would weigh in with my own personal thoughts about The Killers new album "Day & Age" for a couple of reasons:

1. Every one that knows me knows that I'm a monster Killers fan. I was never a "favorite band" kind of guy before, but I loved their first album "Hot Fuss" in 2004 and their "Sam's Town" follow-up in 2006 is, and always will be, my favorite album of all time (sorry, Sam). So how do you write -or even think - objectively about a new album from your favorite band? It's like trying to write about a newborn child. You don't even know how you feel yet.

2. I hate apologizing for how I feel about music. I KNOW that I'm not the smartest guy in the room when it comes to music or musical taste so whenever I'm around smart music people I feel like how it must feel like to be around me in regards to TV shows and movies. Music is the ultimate personal experience and "you- like-what-you-like-and-don't-have-to-defend-it" thing for me. "Sam's Town" got ripped apart by every review in the world (literally) two years ago but it just hit home with me when it came out and only continues to resonate more through time.

But the more I thought about, the more I realized I had to go on the record with something AND after posting these initial thoughts, it will be interesting to look back in a year and two and see how my feelings have either grown or changed (an amazing experience with every Killers record).

First of all, there seems to be three kinds of Killers fans in the world today (again, this is all from my own personal opinion). The ones who love their Euro-pop, synthesized style (my buddy Sam), the ones who love their gritty rock and roll (Me) and those who are blessed and love both equally (my buddy Paul and my Girlfriend). "Hot Fuss" was definitely more synth-driven and "Sam's Town" was more rock-driven and last year they released their own B-sides album "Sawdust" that was a glorious mix of both.

In a couple of their newer cuts from "Sawdust" ("Tranquilize" and "Shadow Play" in particular) you could almost see a new hybrid blend of both sounds and I really thought that was what "Day & Age" was going to sound like.

When I popped in "Day & Age" on Monday night, I started skipping through to get to the one rock-driven song that I knew was going to be on the album (I had obviously already heard "Human" which is more Euro-pop and "Spaceman" which is just good ol' American pop rock).

The only problem was that I kept skipping... and skipping... and skipping...

I was crushed when I got all the way through the album and there wasn't one classic Killers ROCK song. "Losing Touch" and "Neon Tiger" are close but still stay too much on the softer side for me ultimately.

There's no "Uncle Johnny" or "For Reasons Unknown" or even "When You Were Young" on this album and that momentarily devastated me. What kept me afloat was the fact that I KNEW the songs that are included were really, really good.

Just not my particular style.

So, I already knew this one was going to take longer to fall in love with but the good news was that I already appreciated it.

The best way I can describe "Day & Age" is that it truly is a Las Vegas album (that's where the band is from). Like Paul said, you can just be yourself in Vegas and that's what every song on this record is: unique and original.

And going through the album is like driving down the Vegas strip. You have the astronaut-themed restaurant ("Spaceman") on your right, there's the African-themed amusement park ("This is Your Life") up on the left and the tropical-themed casino ("I Can't Stay") is straight ahead at the end of the street. But with songs titles like "A Dustland Fairytale" and lyrics like "under the heat of the southwest sun" and "rattlesnakes and romance", you are always reminded that all the lights and glamour of the city are still out in the middle of a desert.

I think they could have scaled back a little on all the stylized settings but I still love this album because there's no other band out there today making songs like this. I'm proud that it's part of the Killers collection, even if it will never be my all-time favorite, "Desert Island" album.

So far I do love "Human", "Spaceman", and "This is Your Life" (very U2-ish at the end despite the African chanting). "A Dustland Fairytale", "Losing Touch" and "Neon Tiger" are starting to grow on me (I saw a live performance of "Losing Touch" and I already like it better as a concert song than a studio cut). It's going to take a little longer for "Joy Ride", "I Can't Stay" and "The World We Live In", but I committed to giving them a chance. And I hope I'm never in the emotional place necessary to get something out of "Goodnight, Travel Well".

What is that, six, maybe seven out of 10 songs that I could really be into before it's all said and done?

That's pretty much "Hot Fuss" for me and I'll take that any day.

The FUSE network is running a special half hour Killers concert over and over again this week and it was cool to see the new songs blended in with the old stuff. Everything with The Killers always sounds so different but somehow works as a whole.

Oh, and did I mention they kick off their U.S. tour on January 17... in Denver, CO? (While that's not a reason to move somewhere, it certainly doesn't hurt.)

I'm looking forward to seeing them live again and living in this new day and age as a Killers fan.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Hampton Roads Bucket List

This past weekend my Girlfriend asked me if there was anything I wanted to do locally at least one more time over the next month before I move to Denver at the end of year.

My initial response was something along the lines of, "Nope. I'm ready to blow this Popsicle stand!"

But the more I started thinking about, the more I realized that there really are a lot of Hampton Roads-specific activities I would like to do before I leave.

And this got me excited because I now got to do one of my favorite things in the world.

It was time to make a list, baby!

After jotting down a few Hampton Roads must-do's, the euphoria of list making began to wear off as I suddenly realized two things: (1) After 15 years of living here, it's gotten easy to take my surroundings for granted, and (2) it was kind of weird to think about doing some of this stuff for the last time (at least for a while).

"This is creepy," I said. "I feel like I'm dying or something."

"Awww," my Girlfriend teased. "We're making your Hampton Roads Bucket List."

As in, things to do before I kick the (Hampton Roads) bucket.

I'm not totally sure where the financial backing for all these activities is going to come from yet but I'll do what I can do and go from there.

So, you go. Just a few of the items from my Hampton Roads Bucket List:

- I want to see a movie at the Commodore Theater. Whenever friends or guests have come into town over the years, I've always tried to take them to the Commodore as one of those things that you can only do while in Hampton Roads. It's a big, old theater in Olde Town Portsmouth and you actually sit at tables and order dinner while you watch the movie. Unfortunately, that new vampire movie, "Twilight" is the only thing running there until mid December (not interested) so maybe something good will come in before I go.

- I want to hit some of my favorite restaurants one last time. Right now I'm salivating for a knockwurst from the Bier Garden in Olde Town Portsmouth, a nice glass of Chianti from Bella Monte in Virginia Beach, and some banana pudding from The Virginia Diner in Wakefield (not all at once, of course. That would actually be kind of gross).

- I want to play Lambert's Point golf course. I've never seen a golf course frustrate so many good golfers like Lambert's does on a regular basis (I'm not referring to myself as a "good golfer" by the way). The course looks so easy but it plays so hard. That's where I got my very first legit birdie (the par four fifth hole) and the view is so amazing, I always find myself realizing that I would rather be bad at golf than good at anything else. Get your clubs, Chris. I've got a few more golf balls to leave at Lambert's.

- I want to drive Kempsville Road from start to finish
I think I have probably spent more time on Kempsville Road over the past 15 years than anywhere else in the area. I took Kempsville to get to my high school, a LOT of my friends, and a bunch of my jobs. It starts in Virginia Beach as Pembroke Blvd. at a dead end by a neighborhood pool (where I used to go with one of the summer camps I worked at) and then turns into Witchduck Rd. by the radio station where Paul and I did our sports show and then into Kempsville. Once you cross over Battlefield Blvd. in Chesapeake, it becomes Great Bridge Blvd. and then runs through Norfolk before you finally have to turn left or right onto Bainbridge Blvd. I don't think I've ever gone start to finish. I don't even know how long it will take. Half hour? 45 minutes? Hour? Two Hours? Any thing is possible on Kempsville. From the traffic to the uncoordinated stoplights, there is never a good time to be on that road.

- I want to do a Newport News day. Newport News is where I went to college (for the first time) at Christopher Newport University. It's where I fell in love (for the first time) and where I helped start that sketch comedy show. It's where I lived on my own (for the first time) and where I felt like an actual human being (for the first time). Even though it's changed dramatically, I just want to walk around the campus for a while and watch a game at Schooners.

- I want to say good bye at the Monarch. I finally found my Cheers and now I'm leaving. The wait staff knows me, knows my drink of choice, knows what game to put on for me, and beyond all of that, are genuinely great people. Seriously, the thought of leaving the Monarch was one of the very last emotional hurdles I had to clear before I could vocally announce I was leaving home. That's where I've been going to unwind at the end of a crazy day, that's where I go when there are three games I want to watch at once, that's where we have finished 2nd place at Trivia Night for the last 18 times in a row. That's where I was when the Phillies won the World Series.

So that's where I want to be with my closest friends on Friday night, December 26, the night before I leave for Denver. I hate going away parties, but I don't think this will feel like that.

I just want this to be us hanging out, watching a game.

Seriously, everyone that wants to come is invited. That's where I want to say my good bye's and that's how I want to leave this area that has been my home.

When Was the Last Time a Newspaper Columnist Wrote an Entire Column for You?

* I've been really impressed with the suggestions I have received for the ultimate road trip CD that I announced I was trying to put together on Friday (and if you haven't already, please read the "Let's Make Some Sweet Music Together" post below this one and feel free to add your own submissions!) but two of them blew me away.

My buddy Sam (who will always be my go-to music guy) compiled a great list - and you can read that in the comments section below that post - but I had to highlight the response that I got from Virginian-Pilot lifestyle columnist Mike Gruss (as you also can also see, I've added Mike's Pilot blog page to the list of my recommended sites in the bar to the right. Definitely check it out!).

Mike is a great writer with a fresh, unique perspective on life in the Hampton Roads area. I annoy him regularly with questions about journalism and column writing and he has never blown me off or just reply with enough to placate me. Instead, he always responds with very thorough advice and suggestions, and his song submission email was no different.

So I decided to let you enjoy what I get to appreciate on a regular basis.

Thanks again Mike! Hope to stay in touch...

- Josh

The classic road trip song…

One of the best things about music is that it can instantly recall a memory or a feeling from the past.

For a long time, I did not believe in the quintessential road trip song. I found it too cliché mostly because 90 percent of all roadtrip mixes included “Life is a Highway” and “Born to Run.” (See “The Office.”) No matter how fitting they might be, I did not want to ride it all night long.

But it is impossible and uncreative (not to mention no fun) to dismiss the genre as a whole.

In college when gas was about $1 a gallon and before burnable CDs, my friend Susan loved spending the afternoon going for a drive. For years, one of my favorite pictures was one she took from the dashboard of my car that showed the cornfields of southwestern Ohio. She assembled great road-trip tapes to accompany.

When I drove solo from Ohio to Chicago in the summer of 1998, it was the start of an incredible and eye-opening adventure for a kid who had grown up in the suburbs. My first gig at a newspaper. My first apartment. All that stuff. I popped in one of Susan’s tapes before I left. The first song: “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty.

Grant me, a little slack here.

“Well I started out down a dirty road/Started out all alone/And the sun went down as I crossed the hill/The town lit up the world got still”

Yup. All those things were true.

“Well some say life will beat you down/Break your heart, steal your crown/So I started out for God knows where/But I guess I’ll know when I get there”

Yup. Yup. Yup. True. True. True.

I can’t help but think this would be a fitting start to your own trek. But I’m not convinced. Besides, out at the bar the other night, one of my friends told a story where the punchline was “If Tom Petty was on the radio, I suppose I wouldn’t turn it off.” Yes, everyone in the world loves Tom Petty. So he can’t be the artist of choice for this question.

Another story.

In 2002, I took a solo roadtrip from Indiana to Pittsburgh for a friend’s wedding. I listened to two CDs and two CDs only on non-stop repeat. They were Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and Beck’s “Sea Change.” Because of the events of that trip, it became clearer than it had been in the past, I was an adult. And because we often look for meaning where there is none, I kept listening. In particular, the best song of YHF, and honestly one of the best songs of all times is “Jesus, etc.”

“Don't cry/You can rely on me honey/You can come by any time you want/I'll be around/You were right about the stars/Each one is a setting sun”

But. … eh … I’m not sure this makes the cut either.

If I was bringing just one album, I would probably bring “For Emma, Forever Ago” by Bon Iver. Although my desert island album is “Yield” by Pearl Jam. But the question you asked requires just one song.

Others to consider:

“Off He Goes” by Pearl Jam. I could quote the entire song, but read the lyrics here:

“The Ballad of Love and Hate” by The Avett Brothers. Lyrics here:

But slow songs are banned with Kansas being Kansas.

So, drumroll please, the song I chose is “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem.

(Actually I prefer, the version of this song sung by Franz Ferdinand)

Thematically, this song is similar to “The Rat” by The Walkmen. (When I used to go out, I would know everyone that I saw/Now I go out alone if I go out at all/When I used to go out I'd know everyone I saw/Now I go out alone if I go out at all”)

“All My Friends” is a song about trying to grow up too fast. It is a song about making the right choices in life. It is about always being able to go home. Most importantly, it is about knowing that your friends will always be with you.

I love the site (LOVE. IT.) A commenter on there named ‘Douchebag” (ironic?) writes: I believe this song is about how it feels after you realize you're no longer a young person and you gradually fall into being an adult. The guy is looking at life through the eyes of an adult and realizing some decisions he makes are immature, but he doesn't necissarily care. At the same time looking back at how he got to where he is now and wondering if it was right. Or maybe this is how I feel right now and I'm warping the song to fit how I feel. ?”

From another commenter: “So it's fairly straightforward that the song is a retrospective on the rock 'n roll lifestyle and whether it was worth it and what was actually gained from it. What I liked most about it was the monotony of the keyboard and bass line mimicking a life that just goes on and on, regardless of how tired one gets of it, or how oblivious one is to time's passage. It's as if the melody represents the same repetitive tasks of life: sleep, breathe, do the damn thing, etc. But what the hell do I know? I drunkenly cried myself to sleep over this song the other night.”

And another: “I think this is not about someone reaching adulthood, but rather someone looking back upon when they were emerging adults. This song is reflecting about what it was like to reach adulthood, "get with the plan", and then realize that you might not want the plan. You might not want to spend every minute with your partner. And you might want to spend time with your friends. That's not to say that you don't like the life you have. The lines- "Then it's the memory of our betters / that are keeping us on our feet" suggests that you are still motivated by the life you have with your partner. But at the same time, you miss the energy, stupidness, and freedom of your younger days. And although you are "showing your age", you still want to have those late nights.”

Fast-paced? Check. Strong lyrics? Check. Thoughtful? Check. Better than looking out the window? Check. Worth playing multiple times? Check.

Download it.

More importantly, safe travels and best of luck.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Let's Make Some Sweet Music Together

The past few weeks I've been trying to get all of my ducks in a row before I move out to Denver at the end of the year.

I think I have a pretty good route mapped out. I'm going to drive to Roanoke, VA on the 27th of December and stay with my family there. On Sunday the 28th, I'm going to drive 10 hours to St.Louis, and I haven't totally decided but I'm either going to try to make it the 13 hours to Denver on the 29th or break it up and stay in Topeka that night and then get into Colorado on the 30th.

Topeka don't want none of me, I will tear that town up!

Fortunately, I have a powerful motivating factor to get me out there in a timely manner - my Girlfriend is flying into Denver on the 30th and is going to be out there for almost two weeks to help me get set up and on my feet (we will be staying with the very gracious family that let us stay with them back in May).

I can't tell you how huge that will be to have her out there with me. That should prevent any freakouts or knee jerk reactions to run back home when I haven't landed a job within the first 48 hours of being there.

I'm not really taking any furniture (the family out there has a finished and furnished basement) so I'm just going to be packing up my clothes and a few other key essentials in my car. I've also been trying to knock out all the other unexpected details that sneak up whenever you're trying to move, and I think I've been doing a good job staying on top of everything... so far.

But it hit me the other day that I've neglected the most important issue when it comes to making a cross-country road trip.

The music.

You don't want to be stuck in the Middle of Nowhere, Kansas with bad tunes - believe me, I know from experience.

Sure, I have my own personal CD collection (I will be adding the new Killers album "Day and Age" to my collection on Tuesday!) that can get the job done but I think a trip like this calls for an epic mix.

That's where you come in.

I've been making a list of songs I want to add to the "Destination: Denver" mix CD but I have now decided that I want to expand the playlist beyond my own taste. I'm looking for legitimate song suggestions from all of my family and friends and people I don't even know to add to the ultimate road trip CD.

Here are the only two criteria:

1. Song suggestions have to be road-trip worthy (nothing slow, I'm gonna to need something to keep me going when I've been driving for 8-10 hours a day).

2. I need a reason (don't just offer up a song because it's a classic road-trip tune. Give me a personal story behind it, or tell me that it will remind me of you, or something. Lie to me if you have to).

That's it. That's all I'm looking for.

After I get a good list of suggestions, I'll post them and then you all can help me put them in order (what good are quality songs if they're not in the right order? I'm talking to you, Viva La Vida!).

You can either email me your suggestions or post them in the comment section below (to the bottom right of THIS entry it says "comments" - it will show many comments have been made so far - just click on that link and submit your ideas. PLEASE NOTE - you don't have to have a google gmail account or anything like that to leave a comment. I've set it up so anyone can post, just be sure to leave your name).

I'm looking forward to hearing from all of you on this and making some sweet music together.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Unpardonable Sin

I should have known I would eventually get caught.

As a high-profile blogging personality, living a normal life has gotten so much tougher in this day and age of the paparazzi and camera phones. But this time I'm going to beat the media to the punch. I'm going to stand up, recognize my actions, and take the heat from the public reaction.

Now that I've officially announced I'm moving to Denver, I feel ready to come clean and clear up all the rumors that have been swirling the last few months.

Yes, that is me in the picture above and yes, that is me - a life-long, die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan - wearing a the jersey of another team (A Brandon Marshall Denver Broncos' jersey to be exact).


It feels good to finally get that out.

Like any good affair, I don't know how it happened or where it started. There was a chain reaction of exterior events that I had no control over that led to the moment captured above.

In some ways, I think it was always just meant to be.

Follow me, if you dare, down the dark twisted path that brought me to this act of betrayal.

- When the Eagles were really bad in the late 90's (they went 6-9-1 in 1997, 3-13 in 1998, and were 5-11 in 1999) I had to find someone else to follow after the Birds' season was over by mid October. And that just happened to be when the Denver Broncos were really good and won back-to-back Super Bowls in '98 and '99. The Broncos were a safe pick for me because they had an aging super star quarterback in John Elway that every one was pulling for to get a title, they were an AFC team so there was no inner-conference conflict with the Eagles in the NFC, and there was no intense pressure on me for them to win. If they won, great. If not, I just went on with my life. They actually made it fun to watch football for once.

- No one believed me at the time, but when the Eagles made their Super Bowl run in 2004-05 I said I would probably be done as a Philly fan if they won it all. I even wrote in a blog post that I would be like a thief in a movie that just disappears to an exotic island after the huge heist, never to be heard from again. Life as a Philadelphia sports fan has been taxing since day one. Not just because of the losing but because of the almost perverted enjoyment of the torture. That wears on you after a while.

- In the middle of the NFL season last year, I was lucky enough to pick up a then unknown Denver Bronco wide receiver named Brandon Marshall for one of my fantasy football teams. I think I only picked him up because one of my starting wideouts was either hurt or on a bye week. Only once I put Marshall in my lineup, I couldn't get him out. He blew up as a premiere WR and basically led my team to my first ever fantasy football championship and actually scored the winning points in the championship game against my buddy Chris. I knew then that he would get a free pass from me for the rest of his career.

- Fast forward to the Phillies winning the World Series this year and I have to admit that there has been a cathartic release amongst Philly sports fans everywhere. The Eagles are terrible this season, but the for the first time I honestly don't care because that angst is gone. Andy Reid blows two timeouts in a close game to the Giants on back-to-back challenges? Don't care. With the season on the line, the Eagles tie the 1-8 Bengals? Don't care. Quarterback Donovan McNabb sounds like an idiot when he admits he didn't know that games can end in ties? Don't care. The Phillies handled their business during the playoffs and won the World Series. I got to celebrate it with my Dad and close friends at the Monarch and I have the t-shirt to prove it. No matter what happens from here on out, that moment can never be taken away from me. My worst day can only be so bad from now on.

- It should also be noted that I didn't buy the Marshall jersey myself, my Girlfriend bought it for me as a present. I don't think I could have pulled the trigger on that purchase in good conscience. Since it was a gift, it would almost be rude of me if I didn't occasionally wear it, right? That's only polite (never mind the fact that I had been asking for it for months!). Honestly, it did feel a little weird when I put it on for the first time. I had never seen myself in any colors other than the Eagles. I legitimately felt like I was cheating a little bit and I guess I was.

So there you go.

Flimsy and flawed, that's my defense.

Different people have different rules about who you can and can not root for as a fan. I've always been from the "you pick a team and pull for them until you die" school of thinking but I feel like I'm starting to soften as I get older.

You like who you like and you can't help it (the only no-no is front running. There are way more Celtics-Giants-Red Sox fans today than there were a few years ago and that's just annoying).

I'm going to be living in Denver and am kinda excited about being in a town that has pro teams and supports them instead of the Redskins-Steelers-Cowboys-Dolphins bouillabaisse that is the Hampton Roads sports community.

I know I'm always going to be an Eagle fan at heart for the rest of my life and that's something I will always share with my dad and buddy Kevin. But if I wear my Marshall jersey to a Broncos party out in Denver or if my kid is running around in a Rockies' t-shirt someday, I don't think I should have my fan rights suspended.

Now if I let my kid become a Cowboys fan, that's a different story.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Destination: Denver

I have hesitated about announcing this for a while now, but I am officially moving to Denver, Colorado on December 27.

I did my best to notice
When the call came down the line
Up to the platform of surrender
I was brought but I was kind
And sometimes I get nervous
When I see an open door
Close your eyes
Clear your heart
Cut the cord

I’ve never done anything the easy way.

There’s always been this exciting-yet-recklessly irresponsible aura around me for as long as I can remember.

While most of my friends graduated high school, graduated college (in a timely matter), started their careers, and started their families, I took the road less traveled. I graduated high school, did an internship in New York City, got engaged, broke that off, drove across the country, decided to move to California, decided to move back home, went back to college, finally graduated college, and worked (for free) for a fledgling magazine.

Wow. I just got lightheaded.

I’ve never heard it directly, but I have to believe that there have been some “what in the world is he doing with his life??” chats behind my back.

It’s OK.

I would have done it too.

But I have to be honest: I have no regrets.

I’m 28 years old and I’m brutally self aware of who I am and what I’ve done. The positive side to that, however, is that I’m now supremely comfortable in my own skin and I’ve never been more excited about the future – because of the lessons I’ve learned in my past.

Are we human?
Or are we dancer?
My sign is vital
My hands are cold
And I'm on my knees
Looking for the answer
Are we human?
Or are we dancer?

The biggest reason I haven’t really wanted to talk about Denver or make it official was how badly my “move” to Los Angeles went a few years ago. It was painfully embarrassing to come back home with my tail between my legs and I can’t imagine going through that again.But I just couldn’t escape the facts anymore.

I have always loved it out there, my Girlfriend loves it out there more than I do, she’s planning to go to grad school out there, and, probably most importantly, there are more job opportunities in my industry out there and nothing has been working out here.

All of sudden I found myself trying to make a case for NOT going because going seemed too obvious.

I’ve talked to a couple of companies (magazines, newspapers, etc.) that seem genuinely interested in me and seem like they would be a lot more interested in me if I was already out there.

So why not go now?

For about two months, I couldn’t get away from that one question.

Pay my respects to grace and virtue
Send my condolences to good
Give my regards to soul and romance,
They always did the best they could
And so long to devotion
You taught me everything I know
Wave goodbye
Wish me well
You've got to let me go

During a two week span at the end of the summer, I watched as three of the people closest to me moved out of Chesapeake. It was difficult for me to go through, but I couldn’t be upset because they were all moving on to better situations for their lives.

But I couldn't help feel like I was missing out.

NERD ALERT – I couldn’t help but remember that scene from the series finale of “Frasier”. Frasier really didn’t want to leave Seattle but looks around and sees that his dad has remarried, his brother has started a family, and his producer has gotten a promotion. He takes the job in San Francisco because he wants what they all have found.

A new chapter in their lives.

That’s how I felt after those weeks in the summer. It’s just not working here. As much as I don’t want to leave my family and friends, I know I can make something of myself there that I haven’t been able to do here.

Pay my respects to grace and virtue, send my condolences to good…

I’m not very good at making new friends. I’ve had the same core group of buddies for over 10 years now. In fact, the only real new legit friend I’ve made in that time span is my buddy Chris, and that’s only because of my Girlfriend.

In case you haven’t realized, I’m not always so good with the people.

Sure, I can fake it at a party for an hour or so but then I just get tired and lose interest. I like having a small, tight group of friends and I’m going to feel lost without them.

I’m going to miss talking sports with Jake, doing the radio show with Gray, playing a round of golf with Chris, killing an afternoon playing “Madden” with Kevin, trying to figure out life with Paul, lamenting the movie industry with Jesse and Jon…

Seriously, what I am going to do out there?

Fortunately, I have absolute confidence in two important facts: (1) We are all good enough friends, that there is no doubt that we will keep in touch and (2) Denver is so cool, you will all be crazy not to come out.

Give my regards to soul and romance, they always did the best they could…

I’m going because I want to get to a point where I can ask my Girlfriend to be my Wife. I hate the thought of leaving her for the next few months but it’s one of those “more beneficial in the long run” things.

She’s the one that sold me on that.

She’s the reason I’m dying to go but also the reason that it’s killing me to leave.

I love that she's better than me. She believes the best in everyone and everything and is all the proof I will ever need that there is a merciful and loving God. He knew I wouldn't have gotten through the past couple years on my own so He put her in my life.

I know you can’t get into Heaven for being with someone, but I have to think that having her in my life will look good on my permanent record.

And so long to devotion, you taught me everything I know…

I can’t tell you what a relief it was that the Phillies won the World Series this year.

That was the final push over the top for me that it was OK to go. That might sound crazy, but you've gotta know that the only thing I’ve ever really wanted that you can’t buy in a store is to celebrate a Philadelphia sports championship with my dad.

And now I have.

When Brad Lidge got the last out to end the Series, I didn’t weep because of an overflowing joy. I didn’t even totally weep because 25 years of torture were finally over. I wept because I got to celebrate a title with my dad and I knew it was OK to leave.

It’s OK to move on… In every sense.

Trying to describe what my parents have meant to me would be tacky and cliché.

I’ve always thought your job as a parent is to build a ship that is capable to sail through life’s waters. I know I’ve taken the long way around at times, but I am confident enough to take this next step because of what my parents have invested in me and the support they’ve given me.

Will your system be alright
When you dream of home tonight?
There is no message we're receiving
Let me know is your heart still beating

Somewhere deep down, I always knew I was going to leave the Hampton Roads area at some point. I’ve kinda been writing this entry off and on for the last four years ever since I got back from California.

Of course, it didn’t come out like I had originally planned, but that’s life.

Nothing does.

Sure I’m planning to move to Denver in just over a month but who knows how that will turn out and where it will take me next.

I’m done trying to figure out the next step, I’m just trying to take it.

My priorities have shifted greatly, even just in the last year. We were at my buddy Gray’s wedding back in October and that was the first time I’ve ever genuinely felt like I couldn’t wait to get married. Not for the ceremony or hoopla but because I want to take that next step with Summer.

And I have to think that getting outside my comfort zone (read: friends, family, free place to live) in Denver will force me to take care of myself in a new way so that I can eventually get to a place where I can take care of her and a family someday.

This is the right move for me and this is the right move for us.

So, thanks for reading.

Thanks for your prayers and support.

Since I’ll be out of town, I plan to be more active in writing on this site and posting updates and I’ll let you know what I get into next…

You've got to let me know

Are we human?
Or are we dancer?
My sign is vital
My hands are cold
And I'm on my knees
Looking for the answer
Are we human
Or are we dancer?

Are we human?
Or are we dancer?