Friday, June 21

Catch The Wave (I'm On TV Tonight)!

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Arriving (or intruding) Monday. Get your DVR ready.

Here’s the bigger news: To whet your appetite for Monday’s preview, you can SEE ME LIVE ON TV TONIGHT!


AXS TV (DirecTV Channel 340 – Dish Network Channel 167) will be broadcasting RFD 8 live tonight from the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, where yours truly will be wearing a nicely-fitted suit and making sure nobody gets killed. So check it out! Not only do you get to see me on your TV, but you get to watch a bunch of rad fights. Show starts at 9 Central/10 Eastern.

Sound off in the comments section, check me out on AXS TV tonight, and enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, June 19

If Love Is The Answer You'll Hold, Hold on.

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Today is my 9th wedding anniversary (and 13th as a couple). To celebrate this, I wanted to share with you what I wrote in Celia’s yearbook in 2000, the year I graduated high school. Please remember the year and my age when you read this; it’s the emotion that counts.

Dear Celia,

And so it ends. The curtains have been drawn to one of the fastest school years on record, and what a school year it was. This was the year that we stopped passing glances at one another, and actually worked up the nerve to speak a word or two. Well, I did most of the ice-breaking, but who’s keeping score? So I made you come to one or two of our little shows, and I tried my best to communicate with you in between flailing my arms like a fool. These attempts fell through, but I continued to shadow you and invade your space every chance I got. Asking you meaningless questions, staring you down, and even showing up on your computer screen*. This attempt proved to be my best, as I forced you to listen to all of my idiotic thoughts. And wouldn’t you know it? You actually thought I was a halfway-decent guy.

(* - All hail ICQ!)

When I heard you were having troubles with your boyfriend, I was genuinely concerned about it. However, at the same time I was visioning you holding me tightly, and it made my nights very sleepless and stressful. I wondered about you. I worried about you. And for that time being, I pushed my thoughts of you far away, so they wouldn’t bother me. But they quietly whispered sweet thoughts in my ear very late at night. They would say, “You know you like her, so just tell her.” I woke up with a purpose. I understood then what I should have done the first day I saw you. The only regrets you have in life are the risks you didn’t take. These emotional battles were not worth fighting if I wasn’t going to do what I thought was right. Something had to give. Wonderfully enough, this came at a time where we both knew there was something more between us than a friendship. So three car rides, two dinners* and one amazing kiss later, we were a couple. It was then that my life took a 180 for the better.

(* - All hail Fazoli’s!)

In a school where I hung around nothing but Blink 182-listening kids who were always looking for a store window to stand in*, you and your friends beamed like a beacon of hope for the future of rebellion in Winneconne**. Okay, it was mostly you, but once again, who’s keeping score? We talked so much about not smothering each other, neither of us realized that we were slowly becoming inseparable. The conversations got longer, the letters got deeper and the nights were harder and harder to end. A completely new feeling arose from the dust and rubble, and challenged me to figure out what it was. At this point, the weather was cold, we spent every night we could together, and my Buick still had a gold bumper***. Through the ice I would scrape off my windows every day, I saw your angelic face smiling at me through the reflection in the 10-below school parking lot. It was those times, where I was numb and sniffling, that I realized I had fallen hopelessly in love with you. What else could make me happy in those moments, curled up under a fuzzy blanket on an old couch? You did. And you still do.

(* - In retrospect, it was harsh to sell my friends out like that.)
(** - At current time, the Winneconne rebellion is at a cease-fire.)
(*** - I hit a deer.)

These moments seem so long ago, now that the weather is so hot sometimes, but in reality are no further away than a daydream. All these feelings are stronger beyond all imagination, and that will never go away, even though high school is becoming a speck in my rearview mirror. I can look over and smile though, because I know you will be right there beside me, humming along to the stereo while I ruin my brakes* more and more. This is not the end of anything. It is a beginning of a whole new life. And in all honesty, if Ben and Sherry can do it, so can we!**

(* - There are an above-average amount of car references in this love letter.)
(** - If you knew Ben and Sherry, you’d be laughing pretty hard right now.)

Celia, my entire existence is two sections: Me and you, and me and the rest of the world. Me and the rest of the world will never affect me and you. You mean more to me than anything I could have ever fantasized about when I first spoke your name. No matter what happens around us, and no matter where I go, I will swear to you that I will never stop wanting to be around you with every breath, and I will never stop thinking about you when you are not near. I love you so much, Celia. And I cannot wait until I can spend my entire summer with you. We will drive off into the moonlight and turn off the rest of the world. Heck, it was what I had in mind all along.

I love you,
Ryan

I don’t look through my yearbooks anymore, but when I did, there was always a bittersweet tinge of faded emotion. There were so many passionate friendships that seemed to fade into the ether of adulthood for no good reason. Thanks to social networking, a lot of those relationships have been rekindled, but in a remarkably distant and passive way. Just like our coworkers of today, a lot of friendships seem to happen only because you have to see someone every day, so when that forced camaraderie disappears, it sometimes takes away every logical reason you spoke to that person in the first place. It doesn’t mean you weren’t friends, it just means that it was more rooted in geography than sincerity. It’s happened to all of us dozens of times, I assume.

Even more disposable than a High School friendship was, I presume, the High School relationship. I say ‘presume,’ because I didn’t have too many of them. The relationships I had prior to meeting Celia were important - I wouldn’t delete those memories for the world- but in the winter of 1999, I got lucky in a profound way. A way that set the course for what my life was to become. A way that made me write the above in a yearbook, because I knew that this was different. That this would work. The fact that Celia's yearbook now sits in our house, on our bookshelf, seems to validate my optimism.

When I graduated in 2000, I shuffled around my hometown for two years waiting for Celia to graduate. Most of my friends dumped their high school girlfriends and went to college. I started a punk band and spent every night with Celia in my room, shaping the landscape of what our adult future was to become. And even though we’ve spent nearly every day together for the last 13 years, I’m still excited to wake up every morning just so I can see her face, talk to her, and fall right back asleep next to her.

She’s a different person now than she used to be. She looks different, listens to different music, appreciates different culture and even has a different sense of humor. But all these changes managed to do was get me to love her in a completely different and evolved way. I can only hope that I, too, have evolved in a way that makes Celia proud to stand next to me, because I am infinitely proud to stand next to her, 13 years later.

At the very least, I think I'm a better writer now.

Happy Anniversary, Celia. I love you.