Monday, April 16, 2012

Seven Things That Need Reviving

I had one hell of a summer-in-spring day yesterday. The weather was perfect, I spent the day well and it got me thinking about the coming string of hot days and warm nights. Even though I'm a working man, I still get all stoked on summer.

Sure, there's no big change in my schedule come summertime, but my weekends and weeknights get a whole lot cooler. All of a sudden, I'm hanging out in everyone's backyard and sleeping in my bathing suit. And, unlike last summer, I won't be stuck doing busy work in a cubicle. Instead, I'll be wearing shorts to work in our refurnished warehouse-office with the huge doors up and a basketball court in the parking lot. I'm amped. But, last night, I realized that I used to have a better hold on cool shit before I became a careerist instead of just a dude with a job.

Summer is the best possible time to bring out the best, right? So why not revive seven cool things that I don't do anymore?

1. Revive travel.
I haven't been on a plane since New York City last June and that's of tremendous bogusdom. I've done traveling since then, but it's all been by way of motor vehicle, which, in truth, is cool(er). However, my last real trip (even by car) was Mexico for New Year's. That was nearly four months ago. I was regularly doing at least two trips a month last year. I've missed out on a few trips lately because of work, but I miss my "hey I seriously need to skip town as soon as possible." Maybe I'm happier just staying local. Maybe I've gotten boring. Maybe I have a disease. I used to have gunning-for destinations and I think I may need that again. My parents visited Paris a few years ago (my father's second time and my mother's first) and they love talking about going back, and it's even got me excited about revisiting Paris (though it'd be hard to top my last trip there). I need to put together an adventure soon that's not somewhere I've been before (Internationally: Italy; Domestically: Hawaii). Let's revive travel.

2. Revive mixes.
I used to make mixtapes all the time. In 2006, I tried out Cameron Crowe's ongoing project/hobby of recording what he listened to over the years. He has a wall at home with cassette tapes, reading things like "1979, May-August" and "1992, Spring." My attempt lasted all of six months. But it made sense to do, since I drove cars with tape players throughout college. I recorded and decorated mixtapes for myself and anyone else that wanted one. They're cooler than mix CDs, as they carry the old school and have more room for artistic endeavors. Still, even if I don't return to the glory days of mixtapes, I should at least get back to making mix CDs all the time. We used to do Music Club at Entrepreneur, and I scored a ton of radical new music from that. I used to make mixes for every stupid occasion I possibly could. Let's revive mixes.

3. Revive letters.
I've only had three real pen pals in my life (with handwritten letters of frequency by way of the United States Postal Service): in second grade, my grandfather, who only lived in Villa Park and saw me all the time; in third grade, when my friend Julio moved to Lake Elsinore, which I thought of as the other side of the world; and The Jen, when she lived in New York City and both of us were profoundly interested in everything. As I suppose The Jen counts as my only adult pen pal, and "pen pal" seems like a peculiar term for those letters (as they were semi-poetic musings on the world-at-large), I'm interested in engaging by way of the written word once again. Everything's prettier to read, more heartfelt and, altogether, just dangerously more altrustic. It doesn't even have to be romantic. Have you ever read a handwritten letter from your friend? It's rad. It's also not bills. Do you know how cool it is to get something in the mail that isn't a bill? It's kind of the best. Let's revive letters.

4. Revive bike rides.
When I was 20, I bought a beach cruiser that I named the Kilroy Avenger. What was it avenging? Who knows? Probably everything. It was dark green with white army stars and "Kilroy" tagged on it. I rode it every afternoon I could (usually listening to the Stars album Set Yourself On Fire). Somehow, I've left it to disrepair in my parents' garage, which, I agree, is supremely bogus. Also, I have a new neighborhood to explore that, thus far, seems incredible for bike rides. Let's revive bike rides.

5. Revive making music.
After I gave on loops and The Bloodlit Stars, I learned one or two strumming patterns on guitar. I wrote some songs on guitar and it thrilled the hell out of me. Sometime later, I recorded an EP called Great Western Skies and was wildly proud of it, despite only being an indefinite beginner at guitar. However, a week or two ago, I recorded a song in the basement and it brought back that feeling of wanting to high-five everything. I'm also more than halfway done with another EP. Hey, I may not be good, but I have a lot of fun. Let's revive making music.

6. Revive evening runs.
I used to go on evening runs with my family dog, but I haven't done an evening run since I moved out, which was six months ago. It's not like Charlie was a motivator. He can't even talk. He's a fucking dog, people. Recently, I took up evening walks (something I picked up from my parents). It's relaxing and I've discovered that my extended neighborhood has some impressive lighting and landscaping. But walking doesn't do the same radicalness that running offers. Let's revive evening runs.

7. Revive the James Bond Project.
Around the summer of 2008, I found myself binge-watching James Bond flicks. After catching myself in Wikipedia traps, one after another, I suggested to the Superfriends (James, Keith, Zuhair and myself) that we should be more like the British super-agent. They agreed and thus began the James Bond Project (or Project: Class, or a dozen other names, because we really like naming things). The plan was simple: we get classier. At the time, I was showing up with whiskey breath in dirty jeans that were routinely stained with hot sauce. We were slobs, men of high potential and low caliber! So, we collected articles about what men should know, how men should dress, when men should order something edgy at the bar. I began buying one nice clothing item with each paycheck, I researched fine scotches and I read up on history. Obviously, the project was doomed to fail eventually. But we all got somewhat classier on our own. Still, there's more class to be had. Let's revive the James Bond Project.


Now, you may be wondering, why did he make this post sound like Mega Man with phrases such as "let's revive fire power?" Because summer is a big game where everybody wins. Yesterday felt like summer, and I've got a big backyard for playing croquet and a basement for drinking lemonade now. Who's not stoked on going barefoot during the day and sitting in a jacuzzi at night? Come on, let's keep the windows open and travel, mix, write, ride, shred, run and get fuckin' classy. Summer's almost upon us! Woo!


Celeste Hoang said...

jake, i loved this post so. you've inspired me to incorporate all of the above into my life (i say incorporate because i really haven't done much on this list, sadly, and your awesomeness has set the bar). also, i'm ready to watch James Bond movies like there's no tomorrow because i've only seen, like, 3 and there about a million, right? yay!

Jake Kilroy said...

Celeste! That's awesome, and I'm delighted to hear it! There are what feels like a million James Bond movies, most certainly. My word, there are so many. And then, pretty soon, you'll be handing off mixes to everyone you see and writing letters to everyone you don't, all between bike-riding and jet-setting. Ms. Hoang, you and I are going to have one hell of a summer separately, though we should obviously cross paths periodically to high-five at the tequila bars and wonderful eateries on your turf and fist-bump in my basement bar of whiskey and wine spritzers. Let summer rollin' start up soon!

Jason Kornfeld said...

I messed around with Garageband for the first time in a long time. I wanted to goof off with the loops and freestyle rap like a crazed JKORN again.

I'd like to revive the creative outlet in general.

Anonymous said...

N.S. needs to make a comeback. Also, Crazy Dogggz (with 3 G's and a Z) is itching for it's first song to be recorded.

Jake Kilroy said...

JKORN - Go for it. You're a freestylin' maniac. Plug into that creative outlet. MAYBE UPDATE YOUR BLOG.

Jake Kilroy said...

Anonymous/Rex - Crazy Dogggz (with 3 G's and a Z) does need to finish that song. We have to wait for MC Gnar Man's mom to be out so we can swear and stuff. And I'm a full house of wreckage down for N.S. to reunite (possibly under a different name), but this time in the basement!

LT said...

You're very good at making life sound like it should be exciting. And it should be exciting. So thank you for that. You're like a motivational speaker (writer?) for sheer fun. Keep on with it. And add yourself to my Twitter-based postcard list, will you?

Jake Kilroy said...

Hot damn, thank you, Laura! That may be the closest way to describe what I honestly and truly aim to do in a lot of these posts (just, hey, how fun is life? - without sounding like a cliche quote in a retweet or forwarded email). Very much greatly appreciated. And what is this radical Twitter-based postcard list that I somehow missed?