The World Moves On, Another Day, Another Drama

Most people have moved on from talking about TSwift, but I have had one last (hopefully) Look What You Made Me Do revelation. I've been listening to her old catalogue over the last few days, and this morning on my way to meet some youths for coffee it hit me: 

It's her. 

The song is about her. She's singing to herself. 

Go with me here on one last ride on the Taylor Swift Theory Train. And then I promise I'm done. At least until November 10th (or until she surprises us before that and releases another song.)

The "She's Singing To Herself" Theory

We all know that Taylor messed up. Her lie about the Kanye song forced Kim to expose her, and since then she disappeared from the limelight, supposedly took a long hard look at herself in the mirror, and began to write the songs that make up the new album. 

Via the video, we know that the Reputation the album is named for is her own. 

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It's the dead/zombie Taylor who starts singing:

 I don't like your little games
Don't like your tilted stage
The role you made me play
Of the fool, no, I don't like you

This is the New Dead Taylor singing to the past version of herself-- to who she used to be. The little games she played with Kim and Kanye have led her to this point: the death of her good girl reputation. How do I know this? HER OWN TILTED STAGE, YO. 

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This was from her 1989 tour, which is arguably the height of her popularity and fame.

Zombie Tay is upset with herself for getting to this point-- Isn't cool, no, I don't like you (oh!)

The getting harder and smarter in the nick of time? Rising up the from the dead? This is the new Taylor speaking: Zombie Taylor. Tarnished Reputation Taylor. Dead Taylor is singing to HERSELF I TELL YOU.  

My translation: "Look what you made me do, Old Taylor. Look at it! You ruined it! You couldn't be cool for like 2 seconds and not lie and now I gotta drag myself up outta this grave and get to work." 

I don't like your kingdom keys
They once belonged to me

Again, this is so obvious to me now. I think all the Kanye/Kim/Katy hints were just fuel for the fire of speculation: she's singing to herself. She used to rule the Pop Kingdom, and now she sits on a throne of lies. A literal throne of snakes. She's embracing all the things that people have criticized her for, and now she's this new person: a New Taylor. 

The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama
But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma
And then the world moves on, but one thing's for sure
Maybe I got mine, but you'll all get yours

 

All she thinks about is what she deserves-- the karma is her own. And here she is, standing on the heap of the past versions of herself that got her where she is. The "all" she's talking about here, getting what they deserve? It's her. As the Taylors come tumbling down, all of her past accomplishments come crashing down, too.

But in the end... who's standing on the top of the heap? 

New Taylor. 

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I don't have many more thoughts on that, but I suppose we'll find out for sure once the new album comes out. I've still got my fingers crossed for a country ballad apology song, but we shall see! 

in search of an ordinary life

I had an idea of myself as someone free and unencumbered, and virtuous for being so. Of course, one cannot live like this— I can’t, anyway. And in fact, I find that all the best things in my life have come about precisely through the things that hold me in place: family, work, routine, everything that contradicts my old idea of the good life. For years I lived mostly out of a backpack, traveling light and living cheap, often bestowing my mendicant presence on my brother, Geoffrey, and his wife, Priscilla, on my patient friends. But, you know, it seems as time goes on that the deepest good for me as man and writer is to be found in ordinary life. It’s the gravity of daily obligations and habit, the connections you have to your friends and your work, your family, your place— even the compromises that are required of you to get through this life. The compromises don’t diminish us, they humanize us.
— Tobias Wolff, The Art of Fiction No. 183

My life is pretty ordinary.

I have a good job and good friends and a good house in a good city. Sometimes I find myself wishing and hoping for something beyond the good, beyond the ordinary. My friend Mallory shared this quote in her weekly newsletter Garden Variety a few weeks ago and I have been ruminating on it ever since. 

The deepest good for me is to be found in an ordinary life. Trying to remember and cling to this truth today. 

*tap tap* is this thing on?

I sure have missed writing. 

I am not sure, however, that anyone has missed my non-expert opinions on the latest breakfast food crazes or my social commentary on made-for-tv-now-on-Netflix movies *tips tiny invisible hat* but--

If there's one thing I've learned so far this year, it's that you cannot always get what you want (I'm looking at you, basketball state championship/nerdy bookstore employee with the beard/wine fridge in new kitchen.) So here I am. Writing again. 

I suppose now that I'm 30 this bloggity blog thing should be a little more sophisticated, so I've jumped ship from Tumblr to Squarespace and will probably start Kondo-ing my house and buying expensive eye cream. This is mostly because I spend way too much time with Roman Mars and Jad Abumrad and the collective conscious of serious 30-year-olds errrwhere has concluded that to have a Squarespace means you're more into capsule wardrobes and IRAs and less into Youtube stars and GIFs a la the Tumblr blog of my youth. 

Admittedly, I am still into moving photos and Youtube (how did I know how to do anything before Youtube?) and I'll never be able to get rid of all my tennis shoes because I definitely need all of them but it's true: the shiny lights and missing vowels of the Tumblr universe have faded and much like my grieving/withdrawal after the end of Parenthood... I've moved on. 

So. Here's to new beginnings.

Leh go. 

Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.
— John Piper

sometimes

Sometimes you just have to sit in your car and watch the rain fall and listen to Adele because life is good and hard and everything in between and it’s Tuesday night and you still have to go to the grocery store or eat wheat thins for dinner 🎶

MYSTERY SHOW

I’ve been driving a lot lately (holidays, adventures, getting lost in the mountains, etc.) and that means I’ve been doing a lot of one of my favorite things: listening to podcasts. 

Because I’m a super nerd, asking fellow nerds what their favorite podcasts are is a regular part of my daily life. Through my inquiries, I have been recommended everything from 99% Invisible (about the invisible things that shape our world) to Men in Blazers (about soccer *ahem* football and the hosts wear blazers. Allegedly. This is just audio, after all.) 

It cannot be overstated. I love podcasts. But nothing has captured my attention quite so well as Mystery Show. I was reading a Top Podcasts of 2015 list (as all super nerds do) and decided to give it a go. AND BOY. IT’S SO GOOD. 

The premise is this: The host– the lovable and witty Starlee Kine– will solve the unsolvable mysteries from your life. The only catch is that the mystery cannot be solved by a simple Google search. Adventure ensues. 

Unfortunately, there is only one season so far and only 6 episodes, but I think everyone should take a listen. My recommendation– my admonition– is that you listen to them in the following order and as quickly as humanly possible so that we can discuss. 

Case #3 Belt Buckle

Case #5 Source Code

Case #1 Video Store

Case #2: Britney

Case #4 Vanity Plate

Case #6: Kotter [Season 1 finale]

And if anyone knows Starlee Kine in real life, or lives in NYC and wants to solve the mystery of how I can be best friends with her– holler at me. 

RESOLUTE

Do you feel terrible? Like your brain is growing mold and your bones are suddenly filled with lead jello? You’re probably attempting to eat healthily, and your french-fried body cells are revolting against all the kale. Also, tomorrow’s Monday. 

It’s January 3rd, so I’m already 3 days into saying OK but for REAL… our diet starts…tomorrow.

But in truth,  I am trying to see if I can go 2 weeks without eating out and following a “clean eating plan” because I’m a masochist who loves donuts too much but also enjoys cooking. It’s a win-win-win situation. 

Current status is binge-watching Making a Murderer and trying not to move my leaden jello bones. 

Pssssst. This is the Clean Eating Plan I’m following from POPSUGAR. 

What Do Baby Wipes Taste Like? and Life’s Other Great Questions

In my 29th year on this earth, I’ve discovered two things about myself: I’m a curious and obsessive person. 

Over Thanksgiving, my little cousin Abigail had this “game” (I’m not sure I’d call it that) were you spin to see which color jelly bean you have to eat from an assortment of different flavors. This “game” is like jelly bean roulette, where one iteration of that color bean will be delicious: Pear. Peach. Tutti Fruitti. The other, more unfortunate iteration is terrifying: Booger. Barf. Stinky Socks. Not only is it deeply fascinating to me how accurate a Stinky Socks jelly bean can be, it amazes me that all this “fun” can be purchased for $5.99. America, am I right? I cannot warn you enough: if you roll the Tutti Fruitti/Barf option… quit the game. Disown your family. Sever all ties. Take to the hills and rue the day you ever agreed to play Bean Boozled. It is by far the most fowl thing you could possibly ever taste on purpose. 

But despite all that… I could not NOT play this game. I had to know what all the flavors were, and if they were accurate. I ate every kind. Lawn clippings? Tastes just like Saturday mornings. Toothpaste? Minty and fresh but not a substitute for really brushing, sadly. 

This experiment led me down a rabbit hole of thoughts like, how do you make a jelly bean taste like a foot? Who was the food science grad student who signed off on the canned dog food flavor? How many people had to agree that the booger flavor was accurate?

But I’m also obsessive. Right before the 8th Harry Potter movie came out, I was feeling all kind of emotions: remorse about childhood being over, anxiety over whether or not they would let Matt Lewis/Neville be his true attractive self, etc. To combat these feelings, I decided to start re-reading and re-watching all the books and movies from the beginning, back to a time when Neville was a buck-toothed scaredy cat. But this was not some cute, nostalgic leisure-time reading. This was weird, never-coming-out-of-my-room-Howard-Hughes-peeing-in-jars kind of obsessive. I started to think my red-headed mailman was Rupert Grint. People asked me to kindly stop talking with a British accent. Things were bleak. But then, the 8th movie mercifully came out. I stopped wearing robes. I became Morgan, normal human girl, again. No longer Morgan, angry non-magical squib. 

PS. The baby wipes flavor is SCARY accurate. I’ve never eaten/licked one (that I know of) but I do know that’s exactly what they taste like.  I’m pretty sure they make them by wringing out Pampers Wipes and injecting the juice into the beans. It’s the only answer. That, or Magic. I’ll ask Rupert next time he delivers something I ordered from Amazon Prime. (But all of that for another day.)