Thursday, June 2, 2011

hero of the day: Brianna Kennedy

This article is about my cousin Brianna who grew up on the reservation in Nebraska that my family is from (it's a ghetto with shitty schools and horrible living conditions). She's such a badass and makes me feel terrible for the way I've looked at school for the longest time (read sidebar of my blog page). Gah, what a good kid!

PS. My uncle Brian is really a good guy, he just has a hard time separating his personal life and the life of raising his daughter. I see them both at Pow Wow together every other year so they're getting along.

HOMER, Neb. -- New high school graduates talk about being ready for adulthood.

They're ready to get out on their own, make their own decisions, take on bigger responsibilities.

You probably won't hear Brianna Kennedy making those types of declarations after she graduates from Homer High School this afternoon.

Because of a less-than-ideal family life, Kennedy has been looking out for herself, making many of her own decisions for quite some time now.

In July, she was granted a court order of emancipation, effectively gaining independence from her parents. She went through her senior year officially on her own.

"It was a great feeling," the 18-year-old says. "I remember being scared about it, being on my own. It took me awhile to get used to having to pay for stuff and being on my own."

Her parents divorced when she was little. She tried to live with her mother in Lexington, Neb., in fourth grade, but didn't like it there, so she moved back with her father and was forced to deal with his life choices.

Starting when she was in sixth grade, her father and his girlfriend would drink and argue late into the night, so Kennedy often went to school exhausted from lack of sleep. She got involved in school activities so she could stay away from home.

When her family was kicked out of their home in November 2009, she had had enough. She told her father she wasn't moving with him and the girlfriend to Sioux City. She wanted to finish school in Homer and be free of the chaos at home.

So she moved in with a friend's family to finish her junior year. After that arrangement didn't work out, she moved in with family friend Brenda Gabel last summer and filed for emancipation.

Her mother, who now lives in Indiana, was upset about her daughter's emancipation request at first but later realized it was best for her. They still speak often. Kennedy says her father often tells her how proud he is of her. He's never spoken about the emancipation with her.

The decision to become emancipated wasn't about them, Kennedy says. It was about taking care of herself. She needed to free herself from the uncertainty that had filled her life.

"I didn't want to hurt them," she says. "I just wanted to do what was best for me. I love them both so much."

It would have been easy for her to use her situation as an excuse to feel sorry for herself, to give up, to fail.

She didn't.

She will graduate third in her class, with a 3.9 grade point average. She's been the captain of the cheerleading squad the past two years, captain of the dance team this year. She's involved in choir, one-act play production and National Honor Society. She works part time at Subway in South Sioux City.

"Going out and achieving things, to me, means so much more than living in the past. I've moved on," she says. "I'm not going to stay mad at anybody."

With her high school years at an end, does she feel bad about having to grow up basically on her own?

A little, yes. But she says she wouldn't trade her life's experience for a more traditional family life.

"If I wouldn't have gone through any of this, I wouldn't be the person I am. I wouldn't be this strong."

For that reason, she says she wouldn't change anything.

"I would have loved to have had a better childhood, but I don't know who I'd be. I think it made me a better person."

It's not fair she's had to go through all this. She will tell you that herself. But she's come to terms with it and is obviously proud of her ability to make grown-up decisions. Earlier this year she bought her own car. She pays for the insurance and all her school expenses. She'll attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall and has earned scholarships to pay for college. She's undecided on a major but wants to go into some type of health field.

Not having the same parental support her friends enjoy made high school challenging at times, she says. That's why it annoys her when they complain about their parents. If they only knew how hard it is to be an adult while you're still a kid.

"It just sucks because I've had to grow up so fast," Kennedy says as her voice catches and a tear slides down her cheek. "Everybody always remembers their childhood. I don't remember mine. I had to grow up way too fast."

She quickly composes herself and reveals what keeps her going.

"I just want to succeed in my life. I think that's what pushes me."

If the past is any indication of the future, when life pushes her, she's not going to fall.

She's going to push right back.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fred Karger:

Gay Republican candidate for gay rights and increased education spending citing Teddy Roosevelt as philosophical ancestor? Ostensibly, I'm all for it.

Also, this is the only time I have anymore to read the news and watch my MSNBC programs (Daily Rundown, Andrea Mitchell, and Rachel Maddow (only as a liberal pity party when I'm feeling directionless)) as I currently have 3 jobs:

1.) Lifeguard
3.) Jimmy John's
3.5) volunteering on the Opera House board and working for my father at the appliance store (both are not paid positions)

Hopefully buying books next semester won't be so agonizing. Also, I've got some new recordings that, if you'd like to hear them, I'll send to you (if you know my music, it's "Waltz" & "Empyreal").

Also, I've purchased my tickets to the Sunday date of Pitchfork Music Festival. I am impossibly stoked to see TV On The Radio, Baths and, out of morbid curiosity, Tyler the Creator. If you're going and need a ride, I'd love to carpool and split gas with you.

It's summer and I spent every second NOT at work reading The People's History of The United States, learning that my ancestors (the Iriquois) were the most amazing society I've ever learned about whilst learning how to play every Low song imaginable (Sunflower, Dinosaur Act, Murderer, When I Go Deaf, In The Drugs); Alan Sparhawk is my intellectual ancestor and I hope to do his kind proud.

Monday, November 15, 2010


holy moley. Also, that's in freakin' Paris. I'm pretty sure I want this more than anything, ever.

Still looking for my Annie Clark, I suppose. That's kind of an important component.

one reason I probably haven't found her yet is the fact that I spent time and effort looking up the etymology of the phrase "holy moley" to make sure it was spelled write. It can also be spelled "moly." Good use of time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

D.F. Wallace is the shit

"The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in US life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. The anti-rebels would be outdated of course, before they even started. Dead of the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachonistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations, of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh, how banal.”

stop reading my diary, David Foster Wallace

Thursday, July 15, 2010


this may have been the worst feeling I've ever been consumed with. for those who don't know, I work at that facility. you can see my elbow in the prayer circle video.

Monday, July 12, 2010


[ROUGH draft: I just don't want to forget this (I'm fired up and I like it). I'd also like to expand it into a post later]

to all those whom I've argued about music with in the past, whom've told me I need to take music classes and study theory, I remain in defiance of your agenda. how do you think your theory came about? the pioneers of everything musical just farted around in front of their pianos and tabla drums and they experimented with sounds and rhythms (I spelled that right on the 2nd try) that opened up different parts of their brains (insert research about ragas, etc). A friend's friend told that Stravinsky once said "good composers don't imitate, they steal." I can't seem to find any context for this. If you can put this in context, please let me know. I personally knew, by experimentation with my various instruments, that putting triplet pulses together with 4/4 pulses made things feel intense and created a conflicted feeling. I figured out how to make minor chords and major and minor scales by playing around with my guitar. I read that Joanna Newsom's harp teacher just straight told her that "polyrhythms" and "cross-rhythms" are a good way to make a conflicting rhythm and that was a major influence. I'm not trying to take anything away from students of music but I, personally, feel better when I use musical theory that I've developed myself.

In defense of theory, there are examples such as E.E. Cummings who (as far as I know, does not have a solo album) was a master or the English language and in most of his poems, he broke every rule possible because he knew how to evoke the desired feelings. I see the argument for both sides. The point of this was "hey, Adam Roorda/Brennyn from Skidmore/everyone else: you have your way and that works fine but mine works fine too, so don't tell me I won't get anywhere this way." I'm still open to this debate but everything I've done with music (except for how to make 7th chords, this being a recent unsolicited tidbit from a guitar friend) has been from experimentation.

it's raining and I really need to return some books and I hate not riding my bike in the summer. that just seems sacrilegious. also, I just heard that the spill in the gulf is now releasing methane in amounts that could basically poison every living thing on earth. if anybody knows of any good organizations that we could go through and promote that could help, lemme know.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

a drop of blood from a sugarcube

I've been feeling pretty darn lonely these past couple of weeks.

My best friends are in different states, kicking ass at moving on with their lives and making me feel like I live too much in nostalgia and memories. I went to New York to visit one of said friends and he, in short, has his shit together. All of my aforementioned friends don't even have summer roots here anymore, they've been completely transplanted. I have one true friend left in this town and we're on extremely different schedules and we will be going to different schools again come autumn.

I played a show in Pella for a high school band with some people I used to be close with. Not a single person came up to talk to me. When I branched out, the conversation felt forced and no one was really comfortable. Also, that show kinda blew. Like blew chunX.

I work at a job where I can't talk to anyone for 7 straight hours, I can only listen to the deluge of rushing water and the insignificant problems of overstimulated middle school kids. Even if I could talk to the people I work with, I have no connections to any of them. I've extended welcomes to everyone, all of them, but I just get passed off or straight up ignored. When I gave up talking completely, I get treated like the depressed-suicide-watch-case because I read outside before work. I feel completely insignificant.

EDIT: I guess I have a very social locus of identity and that's not good. Friends are important, not every single stranger and half-acquaintance. It's just that it was rejection in rapid succession that it made me question where I was in my life, which is a very important question to ask. It also helped me realize that I need to blaze some new territory. I mean in every realm of my life. I've been meaning to start drawing again. I've already got a project lined up (on that note, if you have a giant wooden [metal, plastic, etc.] disc about my height and are looking to get rid of it, let me know), I'm going to save some money to go to St. Louis and finish recording my album with Brooks (I sent the recording back for one more equalization change, unfortunately, I didn't notice the bass line is pretty covered up but whatever). I started working out, waiting for that day someone says "yeah, you can have this grand piano. If you can carry it outta here hahaha I'm so rich and my nose is so far up my own as I have no appreciation for anything." and I'll be like "stand back, these things," pointing at my massive forearms, "are declared a violation of the Geneva Conventions just for existing."


It's just that I'm living in a loop, unconsciously trying to keep everything constant and manageable while ostensibly trying to live like every second is blazing a bold new future, never compromising truth and/or happiness for comfort. The former is clearly the driving force as I am at my computer writing a blog entry. And yes, that was an indictment towards you, dear readers. Not really though. This is a great forum for half-cocked concepts. I like the idea of pouring your unfiltered ideas into your page because I find it difficult to be the same when I'm by myself and when the world is watching. That's like my definition of bullshit. And with that, here's a comic I printed off that I keep over my desk at school.