2019 Is The Year I Finally Started Understanding My Depression

Tuesday, December 31, 2019
The one good thing I can say about 2019 is that I finally started understanding my depression for the first time. I started going to therapy again, and I talked about my pain for the very first time. There's still work that needs to be done, and continuous work that I'll probably have to do, but the first time I put crack the wall that's been holding me in and, that is a very big deal for me.

What really helped was I started writing about it. I never could write about it in a traditional journal, but then I started this site, and I think the act of knowing somebody would read it, and it wouldn't be hidden away helped. I also started writing about it in other styles. I wrote about it in a "Modern Love" essay type piece and a Twilight Zone-inspired short story. I'm still working on those pieces, and I kind of want to do something with them once they're completed, but I don't know what yet.

Here's to 2020, and hopefully a better me.

The Best Movies I Saw in 2019

This was a pretty good year for smaller movies, despite the dominance of blockbusters. And I can say I saw multiple movies by female directors this year, which is not something you can usually say. My movie diet this year was also pretty varied by genre, as well. I saw horror, horror-comedy, superhero, different kinds of family drama, strippers scamming, and a murder mystery.

Obviously, this is only taking from the movies I saw this year, which wasn't everything. But, these are the ones that I really enjoyed and will most likely watch again.

Greta Gerwig's Little Women Is The Best Adaptation Yet

Thursday, December 26, 2019
Honestly, I knew nothing about Little Women until the trailer for this adaptation dropped a few months ago. I knew that several versions of the movie had been made, because I love watching TCM and they would pop up on the schedule, especially around Christmas. I would try to watch the 1933 and 1949 ones, but they were bad. Not an "I can't watch classic movies thing"; they were bad.

I didn't know the 1994 film adaptation existed until this year, and before I picked up the book to read myself, I watched that version. Yes, I spoiled the book for myself but I wanted to watch a movie and it was on Netflix at the time, so I put it on. It was the first adaptation of Little Women that was written and directed by women. And it was nice. It was a touch too sentimental for me, and after reading the book, it was a bit too sentimental for the book, too.

This was honestly the best adaptation of Little Women. All of these other adaptations focused on Jo, to the detriment at the other sisters' screen time and development as characters and people. They were much more weighted, especially Amy, long considered the worst sister. Florence Pugh is wonderful as Amy, and allows her humanity to break through, especially when she's a child and burning the manuscript. Amy progresses from just wanting to be included in society and wealth to understanding her place in a world where marriage to a wealthy man is the only was for her to be financially successful. Emma Watson is great as Meg, the oldest sister who marries for love, but does love being able to be in high society and have a bit more than she had as a kid. And I can't say enough about Saoirse Ronan as an actress. She embraced all of Jo's flaws, because as much as she is a hero in this story, she is human and she can be stubborn. I feel like that trait is only expressed in a good light, and it's rarely been explored as anything other than that.

Of course, none of that would be possible without Greta Gerwig. After this and Lady Bird, I will see any movie she makes. Her biggest gamble was how she restructured the narrative, and it paid off. Equal screen time was given to their adult lives for the first time, which makes it the truest adaptation, because their's equal weight in the book. The parallels or entry points to each timeline she finds are truly brilliant, and the puzzle that she had to put together to make this happen is extraordinary. 

Stan Culture Needs to Die

Thursday, December 19, 2019
I hate stan culture. It is the very definition of the phrase 'too much'. Whatever it is can do no wrong and they will attack you if you disagree. Whatever they stand for is the best in the field, and they will not hear any further argument about the merit of their work or the work of others. If you piss them off, it can be vicious.

I think Star Wars fans are the epitome of stan culture.

Where to begin? Bullied Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran off of social media. Someone edits the women characters out of all of the movies, and it's not to prove a point about the dearth of female characters in them, or the improvement in terms of sheer numbers in the newest trilogy. They won't let go of their hate for The Last Jedi for "ruining" Star Wars, even though a) it's been two years, move on, b) it examined and critiqued the Star Wars mythos effectively, c) the throne room battle with Rey and Kylo Ren, and d) was one the best Star Wars movies ever, so deal with it. (Also, Rian Johnson is an excellent filmmaker, and everyone should see Knives Out.)

By bringing up this extreme example of stans, healthy criticism of art, especially art you love, is going by the way side. I love reading film, music, and television criticism. It helps me understand the art better, discover elements that I missed, and it helps me get a fuller picture. It can either strengthen my case for why I like it, no matter if the review is positive or negative, or make me change my mind about it and enlighten me. So I think these 'stans' should really invest their time in reading multiple critics and perhaps writing out their own review and join the discourse properly, and not just harass people for not agreeing with them.

Remember, if you disagree with the reviewer, don't attack them. You can agree to disagree on a few things in life.

The Masked Singer Is The Most Insane Thing That's Been Allowed on TV And I Love It

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
The Masked Singer is ridiculous. B- and C-list celebrities (just in terms of how much they are covered in entertainment press, not how much people love them) put on weird costumes and participate in an American Idol like singing competition, without the public vote because it's all pre-taped. Honestly, that's probably a way for the celebrities who only have a limited time window to compete and they can send them home, or promise the celebrities competing who can't sing that they won't be embarrassed. People will recognize that they did it for a laugh.

Some celebrities do it for the timing of the publicity when they have a project coming out, like they would for any kind of television appearance. Some do it to remind the public of who they are. Seal did this season because his kids loved the first season and he thought it would be cool to do.

A few contestants have been open to how their confidence in their abilities were low and they needed to be reminded without the baggage of being a public figure whose history is well known.

I don't care that it's probably fixed in some way, mainly in the early weeks. It's fluffy and light, and it's nice to watch a show that you don't have to pay attention to plot and character. You get to turn that part of your brain off a bit, and we need that in our television diet.

Victor Oladipo in a Thingamajig costume is singing a heartfelt Kacey Musgraves ballad! What's not to love?

Earworm: Lianne La Havas' Blood

Saturday, December 14, 2019
This album has been out for four years and it's still in constant rotation for me.

It's very ethereal. That's not to say that there's no substance to the music. A lot of times I think artists are aiming for that ethereal feeling, so the production on their songs is super light and airy, and there's no real depth to it. For Blood, there is actual weight to the songs.

The opening track, "Unstoppable", is a love song that is not the typical love song. It's my favorite kind of love song, and that's about the feeling a love, which is different from the usual because most songs, no matter how general or specific it is, is about a person. It's an epic of a song.

Two of my favorite songs on this album, "Midnight" and "Tokyo", both deal with being alone. "Midnight" is a celebration of being alone, and having adventures that no one will know about. "Tokyo" is definitely more about loneliness, and would fit in with Lost in Translation.

It just fills you up when you listen to it. And that's really what you want when listening to an album in full.

Haven't Watched Anything Christmas Related Yet

Thursday, December 12, 2019
We are 12 days into Christmas season (heehee), and I haven't watched anything Christmas related yet. I don't know why yet. I guess I'm just not in the mood for the Christmas spirit yet. Usually I at least put a Christmas thing on, but when I hover over one that's available on a streaming platform, I go 'eh', and pick something else.

But today I'm going to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party so hopefully the Disney Magic can get me in the mood. Before the drive over I may put on one of the Mickey Mouse Christmas movies to prime me for tonight.

Bookshelf: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Friday, December 6, 2019
My sister recommended this book to me because she read Carmen Maria Machado's story inspired by Law & Order: SVU called "Especially Heinous". Not long after that, it was announced that FX was going to adapt this collection into an anthology series. Then I bought it and it say unread on my shelf for over a year because I stopped reading but didn't stop buying books. I started rectifying that over the summer, and finally made my way back to this book.

This is the first short story collection I have ever purchased, and the first short stories I've read outside of an educational setting. So that's just been cool, reading different kinds of fiction, nice to vary up my reading diet.

The stories themselves are heavy in genre metaphor, and it will probably take me a couple more reads before I fully understand them, and maybe finding some smart people who are professional critics to read their thoughts. But I'm willing to do that work to understand, because on a surface level they are fantastic genre stories, and I know they are more than that, and I'm interested in learning. And I think people need to read more stories where they have to figure out the metaphor, whether it's by themselves or by listening to others. That will just make you a better reader.

My favorite stories in this collection: "The Husband Stitch", "Real Women Have Bodies", and "The Resident"

You can find more of Carmen Maria Machado's writing here.

Purple Is The Best Color (It Also Happens To Be My Favorite, But I'm Not Biased)

Thursday, December 5, 2019
The best color of all time is purple and it's been my favorite color for as long as I knew what colors were. All I wore was purple. If I couldn't wear purple, I would wear colors close to it like red and pink. My childhood bedroom was purple. I named my first fish purple. People have said my eyes look purple sometimes. I love purple. I don't know how this obsession started, but I'm okay because I'm right. Purple is the best.

For me it's the color that screams warmth the most, because I also am not a fan of the color orange. Too gregarious for me. My wardrobe is most accurately described as 'dark mode'. I would like more purple in my wardrobe as an adult, but it's hard to find actual purple clothes. And that makes me sad, because deep purples, kind of like an eggplant or wine shade, are really flattering with my skin tone.

It also feels like a great in between of 'girly-girl' and 'tomboy', which shouldn't be a definer for people because you like what you like, and you can be more than one thing. I digress. I was kind of both growing up. I played sports and, once I actually started caring about my appearance, I got really interested in style. It can be used in a really nice floral print, or go with my combat boots.  

I just recently invested in a fancier template for this blog, and literally the first thing I changed was the font color to purple.

My love will never die.

I Want More Heist and Whodunnit Movies

Monday, December 2, 2019
With Knives Out coming out this year and Ocean's 8 coming out last year, it really got me thinking about my favorite whodunnits and heists, and I could barely count to ten. Which is a shame because when done well, they are exhilarating. The twists and turns! The successful heists and murderers revealed! Cheers all around!

I get that these movies are very hard to pull off. The script needs to be tight. All the twists and turns that you love need to be seeded properly in the script or make sense in a big reveal montage, and not make it feel like the writer couldn't come up with an ending and pulled something out of left field.

Also, these movies tend to be mid-budget movies, which are being wiped out by all of these big blockbusters, a lot of which are fine at best. But those blockbusters make a profit, especially overseas for studios. They are sure bets, whereas some the some smaller movies that aren't for a mass audience are a risk and, no matter the quality of the movie, may lose money for the studio.

As much as I love the Avengers movies and some of the big blockbusters, it was nice to see a big ensemble movie with no CG1 armies to fight, and the world wasn't about to end.

But looking at the success of Knives Out, it can be done, and should be done more.

Earworm: "Christmas Time is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas

Sunday, December 1, 2019
Every year at Christmastime, this song is immediately on repeat in my head. In my imagination, I'm walking down a street while this is playing in the background and it feels like Christmas. Ironic that a melancholy song is what helps me get the spirit.

I also just love A Charlie Brown Christmas. It's probably my favorite holiday special, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, because that was my favorite as a kid. I don't get super enthusiastic about things; that's just not how I express myself. So this is right up my alley.

It's also a classic, so if you don't know it, you should.

Can 2D Animation Make a Comeback Please?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Since Disney+ launched, I've been watching a lot of the cartoon movies and television from my childhood, and some I had missed like The Great Mouse Detective. As much as I love Pixar and all the really cool 3D animated movies that have been made, I really am missing 2D animation.

I miss how they looked like moving paintings and drawings, and the look of it being hand-drawn. I love seeing the different art styles that come with it. 101 Dalmatians doesn't look the same as Beauty and the Beast, or the same as Treasure Planet.

I'm not saying do away with 3D animation completely, but having some of these animated movies using 2D animation could be a good addition to what's being made today. It's one of the many, many reasons why Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was such a breath of fresh air, because they had characters from different Earths, they had different art styles.

Also, some of the best cartoon series are done with 2D animation. DuckTales, BoJack Horseman, Kim Possible, among others, so you can't say that audiences, especially audiences for children's movies, don't have an appetite for it or aren't exposed to it.

Technology for animated movies have improved so much in the last twenty-five years that even a hand-drawn animated can be completed on a faster timetable, and still be quality animation. And Disney/Pixar can look in house for this would work, because one of the Pixar SparkShorts, Kitbull, was hand-drawn, and still used computers. It was gorgeously animated, on top of being a beautiful story that was well told. There's also the Paperman short, that was a hybrid of hand-drawn and computer animated, and it's in black and white.

This is the nostalgia people should be recreating. Not the carbon copy remakes, with thirty extra minutes of new material with no actual content (exception that proves the rule is Cinderella, that was actually necessary and good). I want new stories told in the same way as they were in my childhood, not the same story told in a told in a different way, but worse (again, except for Cinderella, such a good movie).

I Have Never Related to a Character Like I Have With Chidi on The Good Place

Thursday, November 21, 2019
The Good Place is probably one of my all time favorite shows. And Chidi has always been a character I loved, because I am probably as indecisive as he is. In tonight's episode, "The Answer", everything we know about Chidi's indecisiveness was fully fleshed out, and how with each progressive reboot he slowly got more assured in making choices, culminating in his big sacrifice in the season three finale.

Chidi is indecisive because he wants to know that he's making the exact right decision, and know that he isn't making a completely wrong one. And I have that same problem. It's why I am where I am in my life at this moment. I just hope I can have the growth that Chidi has over the course of this show in my own life.

I've Been on Such a Disney Kick

These last couple of weeks I've been on such a Disney kick. The seed was probably planted in my brain from my couple of trips to Disney World last month, but it really started with the launch of Disney+. All the movies I haven't seen in years because I only have them on VHS available at my fingertips? Yes please.

I watched 101 Dalmatians, Sleeping Beauty, A Goofy Movie, Beauty and the Beast. I finally watched Tangled because somehow I missed that when it was in theaters. Haven't watched much Pixar yet, because I don't know how emotionally wrecked I want to be at this time (looking at you, Inside Out). 

I'm kind of scared to watch some of the television from my childhood, because I don't know if it was kids' tv good, or actually good. Like, the new DuckTales is actually good, but I don't know about the original or Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers, and I'm scared to tarnish the memories. And one of my favorite childhood Disney shows, House of Mouse, isn't on there yet, but I found episodes on YouTube and they hold up, so that's good. 

What I have been doing the most is devouring all of the shorts. The classic Mickey Mouse shorts, the new Mickey Mouse cartoon short series, all the Pixar shorts, including the SparkShorts, that are the Disney+ originals. My favorite is Kitbull, which I am obsessed with. I've been starting to pace myself with those, because I think I'm running out of ones I haven't seen yet. I just can't wait until Get a Horse! is available, because I love that short so much. 

Also, Frozen 2!!! I'm so pumped for it, it feels like this will be a culmination of my recent outpouring of love for Disney, and it'll either temper it or dial it up to 11. I'm ready for both scenarios to be honest. I love Disney. 

Although, more than just The Simpsons has been affected by aspect ratio changes, so Disney should get on that because I noticed a difference when watching A Goofy Movie and Beauty and the Beast.Yes, my memories of how some of those scenes were supposed to look is really good. I don't care if there's black sidebars on my screen, I want to see the full frame of the movie. So fix that. 

(Wish they weren't becoming a monopoly, though. That sucks on many levels.)

I Want a 2000s Teen Drama For Today

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
I was browsing around Hulu for another show to watch, that was something I didn't have to chart who's betraying who, like you have to with a show like Succession, and I stumbled across The O.C. and realized I had never seen it before. One of the landmark teen shows and I had somehow missed it and never caught up with it once I was an actual teenager. Then I realized something: there aren't that many straight-up teen dramas. I mean, there's Riverdale, but that feels like its own beast, which I love.

It could be fun. Think of the romance, the intrigue, the betrayals, the small town or big city scandals, the class differences. Everything that feels ten times worse when you're a teenager. I want them to either speak like real teenagers or speak in a super heightened way and reference obscure and/old movies, music, tv, etc.

Find a cool conceit, whether it be a small town scandal or something like Gossip Girl (that won't collapse after the fourth season, but that's a rant for another time and something I probably will do at some point) to bring these shows into the social media age properly. And really explore how social media affects them, and not just passingly mention that people are tweeting mean things. Make it an actual storyline for some of the characters, or make it part of the school culture and build it up into a big event that happens near the end of the season. And don't make it something supernatural, unless it's a Halloween special or an episode happening in a character's head, then make it as weird as you want and go back to normal the next week.

I want a new sarcastic second-lead who comments on everything and sees the truth in a lot of the more self-absorbed or oblivious characters, but then becomes one of the hearts of the show. I want the pretty girl who seems oblivious and self-involved, but over time shows depth and becomes one of the best people on the show, who you want to see succeed because of those that overlooked her brain for her looks. I want a couple that stands the test of time, and one that is constantly breaking up and getting back together.

(This also means we get a good teen drama without low-rise jeans and the rest of 2000s fashion, because that decade was a nightmare. Honestly, what were they thinking?)

I don't know if this is me feeling nostalgic for a genre of television or just wishing for something different from what I've been watching lately.

I Love Disney Cartoon Shorts

Saturday, November 16, 2019
I love Disney cartoon shorts. I grew up watching House of Mouse and I would watch it every morning before I went to kindergarten and I loved it. Whenever a Pixar movie was coming out, I always look forward to the short that premiered before it. And then Disney started releasing shorts before some of their own animated movies, my favorite being Get a Horse, a throwback to the classic Mickey Mouse shorts, and I am a lover of the classics. And now that Disney+ has launched and they put up a bunch of Pixar and classic shorts, I have been devouring them.

I know it's cliche, but they're short and sweet. They are able to communicate the joke or the emotional arc that doesn't stretch the premise too thin to fill time. You can feel when a movie has run out of steam, and you check the run time and you think that they could've done with twenty or thirty fewer minutes.

I'm super stoked that one of Diisney+'s original programs is SparkShorts, where up and coming stories at Pixar can experiment and make their own shorts. And they were all cool. My favorite of the first four to be released was Kitbull. It's about the relationship between a stray kitten and a pitbull, and it has not dialogue, and was a great portrait of those two animals and how they reacted to each other.

It's not about quantity of content, but quality, and that's what these shorts are.

Earworm: "You're No Good" by Linda Ronstadt

Friday, November 15, 2019
I honestly did not know Linda Ronstadt existed until this year. I mean, I do know. Female artists and their work aren't considered as serious as men, therefore aren't included in best of lists, and therefore isn't passed down and remembered for newer generations. So that means we have to find these artists on our own, either through scrolling through music platforms or watching documentaries about the time period that features them.

The reason I found out about Linda Ronstadt is because my mom was going through some of her old records for things I might like, and she pulled out one her Linda Ronstadt Greatest Hits albums. This song wasn't on the volume she had, but when I got the record I pulled up her Spotify profile to look up what her most popular songs were, which is how I found "You're No Good". And it has not left my rotation since.

It is the perfect kiss-off song. Just telling someone repeatedly that they suck must feel good, especially if they were awful to you in a relationship.

This song rocks, it grooves, it's a fun time.

I Believe in Jinxes

Monday, November 11, 2019
I honestly believe in jinxes.

When this first solidified for me was when I was working at an ice cream store. Whenever I would get myself dinner during a night shift, a line would come in and it wouldn't stop until closing and the food would be inedible, no matter how I stored it. Also, whenever someone would say out loud that it was a slow night, it would no longer be a slow night. I really got into the habit of having to jinx something, I would only do it if there were some way for me to knock on wood.

All of the other stuff is total nonsense. Horoscopes are bullshit, and so broad they can apply to anybody. I'm a twin, so we have the same star sign but we are very different people. I don't even understand what crystals are and how they work. Karma is just life and consequences, sometimes is happens, but not always immediately, and a lot of times it doesn't happen. Bad people continue to have good things happen to them, and good people continue to get bad breaks.

My Favorite Classic Movies

Friday, November 8, 2019
I wrote about why you should watch classic movies, so I figured I'd make a list of my favorites as like a starter pack, broken down by genre, for anyone who wants to take me up on my advice.

(I am classifying classic movie as any movie that came out before 1990.)

Earworm: "Lost & Found" by Lianne La Havas

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
I interpret the 'you' in this song differently, but I'm not ready to share that online yet. So, since I'm not doing that, here's the song. I'm just gonna cry it out now.

I'm Actually Going to Try to Write a Real Journal

Monday, November 4, 2019
I know I do posts tagged journal, but it's not a real journal. That's just a way for me to separate the things I want to share about my life from my culture thoughts, helpfully labeled thoughts. But I am actually going to physically write a journal.

I've tried really journaling before, but I never found a way to accurately express my thoughts and a way to have a conversation with myself, so I would abandon the journal after a few entries.

I also have an issue with making mistakes because I like to write in pen, and I want my journals to be neat and not have a lot crossed out, but when writing out your thoughts and you need to reword them sometimes. And I got gifted a lot of really nice, very cute journals, and I'm so scared of losing the aesthetic of the page if there's a whole bunch of scribbles in it.

So, I found a really old composition book. (It's Lisa Frank-themed, that's how young I was when I first got it.) I tore out the few used pages so I could start fresh, and since it's just a composition notebook, I don't mind if there's mistakes. I might rewrite them into a fancier notebook or type up each entry just for my very weird OCD about needing my penmanship to be neat.

I don't know what will come from this exercise, but I'm gonna actually try to put effort into it. And who knows, I may be able to do something creative with it. At the very least I hope this will be helpful to me on a personal level.

My Car Died on the Highway. That Was Fun.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
I was driving I-4 home from picking up my cousin from Orlando. I had noticed the battery light was on but I had just gotten a new battery a couple of weeks ago so I thought it might have been just a glitch, because that happens sometimes. Then the stereo started cutting out, so I knew this was actually happening. I was only about forty-five minutes to an hour away from home so I thought I could at least make it off of the highway. Then all of these other lights started turning off, and all the features that made it a smooth ride started going. By the time the air conditioning started to go, I managed to find an exit with a rest stop. As soon as turned onto the exit, the car started dying, it’s getting bumpy dying. When I pulled into the parking lot it was official: Rest In Peace car battery.

Waiting for my parents and AAA to get there was long. It took my parents forever because my car decided to be extra difficult and die right before rush hour. It also took the tow truck forever because he was in rush hour, and then had to help one of his guys because there was a six car accident.

All in all it took two hours for everyone to get there and get the car hitched.
Once we finally got home, we ate pizza and played Tower of Terror themed Clue. I won the second game, so it ended on a high note.

(The tow truck was also Hulk themed, and it was cool. Didn’t know where to fit that into the story, but I thought you should know that fun tidbit.)

My Favorite Twilight Zone Episodes

Normally when people put out a list like this, they say why they like each thing they put on the list. However, when you do that for The Twilight Zone, it gives the game away. You're just going to have to take this list as it is and watch them for yourself.

Classic Movies are Good and You Should Watch Them

Saturday, October 26, 2019
I follow some of film twitter, and this week the major discussion was about Shea Serrano's comments in his Esquire, because his book, Movies (And Other Things), focuses on movies from the 80s and (mainly) the 90s to the present. When he was asked if he didn't have any appeal to him because "they're not fun".

First off, this is not going to be a stay in your lane thing. But, Serrano's book is being treated like film criticism or a definitive book on film. He is not a film critic, and the book is not film criticism. It talks about movies from a pop culture angle, and for that, it's great. It has a feature about who would be in Regina George's circle and gives romantic comedies their own Academy Awards because they good movies aren't just fluff. A lot of the pop culture of today is defined by movies of the 80s and 90s with the nostalgia trend that has been going on with all of these reboots and remakes, so a book like this should have been promoted from that angle.

Also, there are good movies made before 1980. Jaws. Psycho. Singin' in the Rain. The Wizard of Oz. I could go on. (Sure, you may have to get used to how they talk, but it's not a hard adjustment to make.) I don't want these movies lost to time, they deserve to stay in the public consciousness.

If you want to watch classic movies
  • Turner Classic Movies is the best
  • Amazon Prime has a good selection 
  • there are a bunch of classics that are in the public domain, so they are free to watch
    • you can find a lot on youtube

Why is Female Artistry Still Not as Respected as Dudes?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Rolling Stone's 2010 ranking of the 100 greatest singers made the rounds on twitter yesterday, somehow, and the biggest piece of outrage about the list was Bob Dylan outranking Freddie Mercury and a whole bunch of other singers. Obviously that's wild.

But to me, what was more wild was that there were only two women in the top 20, and however many women on the list were primarily in the bottom half. Stevie Nicks was 98. Carole King and Linda Ronstadt, and others that will probably come to me in the middle of the night, weren't included were nowhere to be found.

So why? I get why at the time they were discarded or written off, but why still in the 21st century? 

It seems that every time some publication makes a new ranking like this, it's the same artists, or songs, or albums, but just in a slightly different order. When doing these lists, it should be a new evaluation each time. We should also be highlighting artists that were not given their proper due when they were making their art. (And that goes for all fields, not just music.)

I love reading lists like this, but I'm tired of seeing the same people on them, and sick of artists I love, who I found on my own or by recommendation from my dad, that have made some of the best music ever, and are still not cracking these seemingly set-in-stone best of lists. 

So I guess it's on everybody else to make sure these incredible artists are still talked about and make sure we pass on their music. I don't want these badass women to be a footnote in history.

I've Never Really Read More Than One Book by One Author

Monday, October 21, 2019
I just read two books by the same author within a week. I read Taylor Jenkins Reid's The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & the Six. I don't usually read multiple books by the same author. Unless it's a series, but then I don't usually read books from that author outside of the series, either. It's not like a "oh I've read one book by that author, I don't need to read anymore", that was just a something that started happening when I was looking for something new to read. I would look for something by a new author. It wasn't something I was against, it just never registered to check for other books from those authors.

That is not the case for my parents, who are always looking for the newest book by their favorite authors. The amount of Nora Roberts and Heather Graham books my mom has on our bookshelves is ridiculous. Same with my dad and Tom Clancy, even still now that someone else is writing under that name.

This is also comes on the heels of me getting back into reading for pleasure. It was a long time since I had read consistently for years. I would pick up a book once in a while, but once I finished I wouldn't pick up another. Most of that big gap likely stemmed from reading a lot of books I would have stopped reading for myself had it not been assigned in high school. Honestly, why is The Scarlet Letter still being taught. That was a painful read, and I don't remember a single person in my class who actually enjoyed it. it's the worst. I digress.

I've never had this attraction to a singular voice before. They are both interesting examples of historical fiction, which is something I tends to gravitate towards, and are about eras of culture that I am extremely fascinated by. Evelyn Hugo traces the end of Hollywood's studio system and Daisy Jones is about 70s rock, one of my favorite periods of music. So, I was pretty much primed to like them if they were good.

Primarily, both books are about relationships. Different kinds of relationships, and how those relationships come together, fall apart, and maybe come together again. And it may not happen in the way you expect based on the premise of the books, which would sound like a curveball if you were told the twist and didn't read the book.

Since these were her two latest releases, maybe I'll end up reading some of her older novels. At the very least I'm going to check in to see what she's working on next. And that happens to be a tv adaptation of Evelyn Hugo that is in development for Freeform. And she's a producer on the upcoming adaptation of Daisy Jones at Amazon Prime, produced by Reese Witherspoon.

Bookshelf: Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Sunday, October 20, 2019
This is essentially about a fictional Fleetwood Mac in the 70s, which is feels like it is targeted directly to me because Rumours is one of my favorite albums of all time. I would have loved if Daisy Jones was a real artist. Just hearing how her voice was described, I wanted to hear her sing so badly, and it sounds like some of the music of the 70s that I love.

The book is structured like an oral history of the group, and it was really fascinating seeing each of the characters contradicting the other about who did what, over pivotal or trivial events. And because it's an oral history, you have to read different interpretations of the events happening, and you have to decide whose account to believe, and who is an unreliable narrator.

I figured the band would split up in some way, and I had wishes for the outcomes of certain characters, and when those didn't happen as I thought it would, I got upset for them like I was reading the oral history of a real band or real people. I had definitely chosen who I had sympathized with in the band pretty early on. The big conflict of the book is Daisy vs. Billy, and I was definitely Team Daisy. Billy was a dick to the band and wanted to be the one in control of everything, and while Daisy wasn't easy to deal with, she was nice to the band and was accepting of their opinions. And the way the songs she wrote and the way she was singing was being described, it was definitely something I would listen to.

The book is being adapted by Amazon Prime as a limited series to come out next year, and I am psyched for it. I can't wait for the recreations of events by the younger versions of the characters, and the Behind the Music-like interviews of the older characters.

Also, you know when you're reading a book that is describing a song that was written by a character, or one that was created by the author to play in the background to set the scene, and you want to be able to listen to it? I have never felt that way about fictional songs more than when I was reading Daisy Jones & the Six. The author also included lyrics for all of the songs in the back of the book, so that bodes well for when they are actually recorded for the show.

Niall's "Nice To Meet Ya" vs. Harry's "Lights Up"

Monday, October 14, 2019
Out of all five members of One Direction, it's safe to say that the members who have had the best time making the jump to solo star are Niall Horan and Harry Styles. Niall's first album did not stray too much from something the group might make, but it was definitely more like a singer-songwriter than a lot of One Direction's pop/rock music. Harry went to classic rock as inspiration for his first album.

They both released the first single off of their second albums within a week of each other, which is very strange timing. Also, both of them are not standard pop songs. They are both structured differently, and don't have traditional verses and hooks. And it's kind of exciting that that experimentation of form is happening.

I have to say, I prefer "Nice To Meet Ya" over "Lights Up". There's just more variation, and it's rockier, which is a plus because I do like a lot of rock music. It also feels more confident, and you can see that in the music video. Niall is hot, and he knows it now.

With "Lights Up', I'm still processing. Harry never seemed like he would make a pop song like this before, because he has been so open about his love of classic rock. His first album was pretty much an ode to classic rock, and he performed with Stevie Nicks.

Niall wins this match up. I'm a Niall girl now.

Bookshelf: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Sunday, October 13, 2019
This book is so good. I don't even want to write anything about it because I want people to go into it with as little knowledge as possible. When I read the synopsis for it, I thought I knew where it was gonna go, or at least a few ways it could. It did not go in any of the directions I thought it would, in the best way possible. Even as I was reading, I let go of the theories I had when I picked up the book and just became so engrossed in the story. And to mention, the way things end up, nothing feels like it's coming out of left field. Every decision makes sense, even if you didn't see it coming.

Because it's called The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, it would not be giving anything away to say that the novel is structured by the seven husbands. When I started reading it, I knew immediately this was going to be a great read, and I wanted to savor it. So, I though I'd read a husband a day. And that worked for the first sitting. Then the second sitting, I read three husbands. And then this morning I saw that I was halfway through and I figured I'd stop with about a quarter left in the book for me to read tomorrow. That didn't happen. I finished it in two and a half hours. I never stopped to check my phone, take a sip from my water, or go to the bathroom. I read straight through, and I don't think that has ever happened to me when I've read a book before. I do try not to check my phone when I'm reading, but I do take water and bathroom breaks because I realize those needs can't really be ignored. When I was reading this morning, I didn't feel thirsty even though I was kind or parched. Just kept reading because I needed to know what happened next.

So, even though I didn't go into detail on the actual content of the book, just take it from how enraptured I was by it that you should pick it up and read it for yourself. Or, it was announced recently that is being developed by Taylor Jenkins Reid for Freeform, if you're more of a tv person, but that will probably be awhile so just get the book.

Earworm: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours

Saturday, October 12, 2019
Honestly, the only thing I need to say about this album is that it's Rumours. End of post.

However, I will explain even though it feels unnecessary because it is one of the best-selling albums of all time and consistently ranks high on lists of the top albums of all time.

This album has been in rotation for me ever since my dad got a CD of it for his car, and then I uploaded it to my iTunes library. The most popular songs are "Dreams", "Don't Stop" and "Go Your Own Way", all of which are deserving of attention. I saw a tweet once about "Dreams", and my apologies for not being able to credit the person, that you just want to levitate to that song. "Don't Stop" is the song I put on when I want to feel optimistic about the future, but don't want the modern pop version of those songs, because the production on them makes it feel empty. And "Go Your Own Way" is the ultimate breakup song, and you gotta reckon with the personal turmoil the members of the band were going through while making this record, and managed to make good music out of it.

My personal favorite song on the album is "The Chain", which gained new life when it was included on the Awesome Mix Vol. 2 for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It's one of the few songs that all of the members have writing credit, and this song was put together using sections of other songs the band were working on, and they put them together. The miracle that it sounds like one songs instead of a disjointed mess, I don't know how they pulled it off.

However, because sometimes I just listen to the songs I like the most because I love making playlists and try not to put entire albums on it just to have a chance at variety when I put it on shuffle, I don't listen to the album straight through as much. A few weeks ago, I played it on my record player (I have the album on vinyl too) which means no skipping unless you have precision with dropping the needle. When I did this, I realized I never really latched onto "You Make Loving Fun". That was a mistake. This song, written and sung by the underrated Christine McVie, is a groove. The same feeling I get when I listen to Stevie Nicks, wishing I was in a field wearing a top hat and flowy dresses and shawls, I get when I listen to this song.

That's the joy of listening to albums, in full and in order. You rediscover songs that weren't the big hits or the singles. Even on the most celebrated and listened to albums of all time, you can find gems you didn't give the proper due.

I Just Had Two Trips to Disney World in a Week. It Was Awesome.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Two Disney vacations in a week. Whew. And it was so hot. But I didn't get sunburned, which I thank the gods for.

It was a blast. I hadn't been to Disney for a few years, and going back both times I really did feel the wonder of being at the parks, just walking around them. Especially when I walked down Main Street at Magic Kingdom, and I saw Cinderella's castle. The magic of it all still exists.

The first trip was with my parents and my sister to experience the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. My mom and my sister had gone the year before and discovered it was better to space out the food and (especially) the wine, and do a few rides in between. So after having a chocolate pudding with a delicious vanilla syrup on top in Ireland and escargot with pesto stuffed into a croissant in France, we forced my dad to wait 50 minutes on the Frozen ride in Norway. He was not happy about that, and it was fun to try to hype him up for a ride he'd never seen the movie for. The wait would've been fine, except for the worst behaved kids I have ever seen in a line for a ride, and the parents did nothing to stop them. They were running around, climbing and banging on the barrels along the line, and screaming constantly. The ride was fun though. After that, we ate a few more foods, and then one of my cousins who currently works at Disney was able to join us for Soarin' and eat with us for the rest the day. Then at around six-thirty my parents called it a day, and another cousin who works at Disney was able to join us for the last night of Illuminations, which of all the years my family has been going to Epcot, we had never seen their light show, and then only half of us ended up seeing it.

The next day, we went to Hollywood Studios. The ride that I was super hyped to do this whole trip was Tower of Terror. I started watching a lot of the original Twilight Zone episodes this summer and I was ready to be inside of an episode. And honestly, Jordan Peele's reboot should adapt the ride into an episode because I will get CBS All Access to watch it repeatedly. Also, my favorite kind of ride is the drop ride, because there is no feeling like being dropped and coming off of your seat. This was also the first time we got to see Galaxy's Edge since it had just recently opened, and every time my family goes to these movie themed lands at theme parks, we always marvel at the attention to detail and this was no exception. And the same goes for Toy Story Land, which we had also never been to since it opened.

The second trip was because my aunt was coming down to visit her daughter, my cousin, who works at Disney and me and my mom were there to spend a day at the park with them and hang out.

We started out our day at Animal Kingdom and we got there for the park opening to hopefully beat the line for the Avatar ride Flight of Passage. We did not. We waited an hour and a half for that ride, and the whole time I was thinking that it wouldn't be worth the wait, because the way people described it to me was that it was like Soarin', and I had just done Soarin' two days ago. It was Soarin' on another level. And that is the best way to describe it. It was exhilarating. Because in Soarin', you're all seated in the same bench, but on Flight of Passage you get your own individual bike-like seat, and it really does feel like you're flying on the back of the banshee. After that we decided to book it to the total opposite end of the park to ride Expedition Everest, which is the closest I will get to that mountain. It had been, not exaggerating, a decade since I had been on that ride, and I was just as fun as I remembered it. You go backwards!

We decided that there was nothing else we wanted to do at Animal Kingdom, so we drove to Magic Kingdom. Normally, when my family goes we don't drive to each park and we usually rely on the transportation system. But if we had done that this time, we would have spent more time on buses than at the park. We got there at about noon and wanted to have lunch at Belle's castle, but apparently they weren't taking walk-ins that day, so we went to Pinocchio's. And after that we did a few rides (Buzz, Laugh Floor, Thunder Mountain, and Space Mountain) and decide to beat the crowd exiting the park because it was closing early that day for the Not So Scary Halloween Party, and continue our day at Hollywood Studios and see Fantasmic, the best light show at Disney World.

Since we got there earlier than we initially planned, we decided to get food, and then ride Tower of Terror. My aunt and cousin were not as psyched as I was, because apparently it's scary. I don't see it. You can see in the photo of our trip to the Twilight Zone that while my aunt and cousin were hiding their faces, I was all smiles with my hands up.

Fantasmic was still awesome, and it ended at 8:30 so we still had until 10:00 when the park closed to do a couple of rides. We all but ran to Galaxy's Edge to ride Smuggler's Run. I got to be the pilot that sends you into light speed this time. The power you feel when you do that is so cool, I felt like Rey. Then we booked it again to get to Toy Story Mania, where I actually got a higher score than my mom, the family champ at that ride. We got out of that ride a little after 10, and when we were coming out of Tower of Terror, I noticed that they had a Tower of Terror themed Clue game, so while we were waiting for Fantasmic, I shared that information with the family group chat, and the first text was from my dad saying that he'll pay for it (translation: I like it so get it). So since, the rides stay open until the last person who joined the line before the park officially closed, my mom and I all but ran to Tower of Terror to hopefully be able to buy it, and we did. (Next family game night is gonna be so cool.)

That may have been the longest day I have ever spent at Disney World. It's definitely the most amount of parks in one day. Fourteen hours. No sunburn, no overheating and hitting a wall. Wearing my Minnie Mouse fanny pack from when I was a kid, and my new Mickey Mouse baseball cap, with ears attached, feeling sporty and fashionable. That day is probably up there with the most fun I've ever had at Disney World, and it definitely felt like the happiest place on Earth.

The Curator

Friday, October 4, 2019
Making playlists is kind of my thing. When I have a longer than normal car ride, I make a new playlist. If I'm bored of the songs that I currently have in rotation, I make a new playlist. If I'm in the midst of insomnia, I make a new playlist. It's just a great activity to do, and a puzzle to solve if I'm going for a certain vibe.

I like making lists of things apparently. I do it with music, movies, television shows, books, musicals. The only ones I actually share are playlists because you can do that without looking pretentious. But it shouldn't be. It's interesting to see what people like (or don't like). You can get some really good recommendations if you see a person whose opinion you trust like a thing that is not typically in your taste. Just don't be assholes about someone liking something you hate, because that's not cool.

Normally these are spur of the moment thought experiments that I put effort into for about five minutes, and then move on. Now, I think may actually pay attention to them, kind of like taking inventory of my tastes at that moment in time.

Trying Not to Binge Watch TV Anymore

Saturday, September 28, 2019
I know everyone loves a binge watch, but I kind of like taking my time with a show. With a binge watch, you don't get to savor a television show anymore. Thirteen hours and that's it. I want to spend real time with a show, thinking about each episode and wondering what could happen next instead of just immediately finding out.

Case in point for me right now: Succession. I am late to the party and just starting the show now, which it seems I'm not alone in that boat. This show is so addictive, it's taking everything in me to not watch it all in one or two nights so I can try to catch up to it. A lot happens in every single episode, and if I did do a binge watch of it, only about half of it would stick because my brain would be overloaded. And this is show about details and conversation, so you actually have to process it. But because I'm taking it slow, I can savor all of the political maneuvering and power moves. Thankfully, I've had an easy time avoiding spoilers for the season that's currently airing, which is making it all the more enjoyable.

And for the record, I'm Team Shiv.

My 2019 Emmys Ballot

Sunday, September 22, 2019
This seems kind of weird to do since I haven't seen everything (which you can probably tell from my picks), but here we go. In my ideal world, the Emmy goes to:

Bookshelf: Circe by Madeline Miller

Friday, September 20, 2019
This is a great exploration of the goddess and witch Circe that, from I can tell, is usually at best a supporting character in the Greek myths. She is probably most known today for being in Homer's The Odyssey, which I read in freshman year in high school, and do not remember a single thing about.

This is only the second time I've read a reimagining of Greek mythology, the first being the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. Those books were also a great way of learning how the gods worked, and the first time I had learned some of the myths of the Titans, who came before Zeus and the Olympians. This way of reimagining these classic myths, whether it's like Circe, where you focus on a specific god, or like Percy Jackson, where you create new characters related to the gods, and how they might affect them.

Both Circe and Percy Jackson make all of these gods feel like real people, with motivations you understand, or we see the affects of their actions on the lives of real people. You may leave thinking of them in a different light of the original myths the gods are apart of, but that's most likely the point. 

Doing a Bit of Fall Cleaning

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
I've accumulated a lot of stuff over the years, and a lot of that stuff had taken up seemingly permanent residence on my bookcase and in my closet. On a whim, I started cleaning out my bookcase. I don't know what came over me to start, but once I did I knew this wasn't going to be a one time deal.

When I do these big cleaning sprees, I usually separate into three piles: keep, trash, and donate. The donate pile is the one I usually have the hardest time with. One reason is that I have a hard time deciding whether to keep certain items, or if it's okay for me to part with them. The second reason is that it's hard to gauge whether certain items are in good enough shape that they would be worth donating, or just throwing it away.

The hardest for me is usually books. I have always been an avid reader, and so has my family. We're not big ebook people, so we have a lot of physical books. A lot of them I haven't read in years, just because they were from when I was a kid or a teenager, and they were simple stories that don't really interest me now that I'm at an adult. 

Good news for me is that I'm weird about books. I don't like creases, bends, or folded pages, so the majority of my books are in excellent condition, so they can go to people that will actually read them.

Also good news for me, I have a lot of younger cousins. So all those books from my childhood, can go to them if they want them. And whatever they don't want, will hopefully be able to go to the public library.

It's good to be able to take an inventory, and decide what you want to keep and what you're okay parting with. You can acknowledge that something once entertained you, but you won't really get any more pleasure for it, and hopefully give that joy to someone else.

My Top 20 Favorite Songs

Monday, September 16, 2019
In June, my dad mentioned that one day he wanted to sit down and figure out his top 20 favorite songs. I took that as a challenge to do one too, and it has taken me forever to try and crack this. This is the list as it is on this day, though honestly expect several redux versions of this list to come.

Here is my top 20, in no particular order:
  1. I Feel The Earth Move - Carole King
  2. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears
  3. The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
  4. Hard Times - Paramore
  5. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  6. Jolene - Dolly Parton
  7. You're No Good - Linda Ronstadt
  8. Grace - Jeff Buckley
  9. Touch - Little Mix
  10. In Too Deep - Sum 41
  11. Just A Girl - No Doubt
  12. Renegade - Styx
  13. My Body - Young the Giant
  14. Rolling in the Deep - Adele
  15. Dreams - Fleetwood Mac
  16. Hometown Glory - Adele
  17. Gone - Lianne La Havas
  18. High Horse - Kacey Musgraves
  19. You Keep Me Hangin' On - The Supremes
  20. You Make Loving Fun - Fleetwood Mac

Earworm: Paramore's After Laughter

Sunday, September 15, 2019
It's been over two years since this album came out and it is still in heavy rotation for me. I love it. If there is any album that perfectly encompasses me, and all of the feelings I have about life, it's in this album. There are songs that come around that I relate to almost perfectly, but that has never happened for me in an entire album.

The contrast between the poppy music and the darkness of the lyrics is a hard balance to strike, but they nail it. It's all of the fun of 80s pop, with the angst and emotion of some of the saddest ballads.

Honestly, even writing about this album is making me run through the same gamut of emotions that actually listening to it makes me feel, so just listen to it.

I Keep Waking Up in My Dreams

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Has anyone ever thought you had woken up, and start going about your morning, and then wake up again, to discover it's actually four in the morning and not eight like you thought? That has happened to me twice in the last three days. And it's not the first time I've had dreams like this.

It feels so real. It feels like I've woken up, realize I slept through my alarm and race to brush my teeth and get dressed. Then as I'm about a few minutes into that panic, I wake up again, panic again, and check the clock to see that it's about four hours earlier than I thought. 

Honestly, I don't know enough about dreams and how to analyze them and interpret them. I didn't even believe in that stuff until I had the classic anxiety dream of all of my teeth falling out. 

If anyone has any insight, it would be much appreciated.

Bookshelf: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Friday, September 6, 2019
I haven't read many books from the nineteenth century. Before picking up Little Women, I had previously read two books from this time, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Frankenstein I really enjoyed, and Scarlet Letter was a chore to get through. The only reason I read those novels was because they were part of the curriculum at school, which is the only reason I didn't delete my copy of that horrible book from my nook. So, all that being said, this is the first time I've willingly read a novel this old.

Also, it should be mentioned that the only reason I picked up this book is because I got really into the trailer for Greta Gerwig's upcoming film adaptation, and I will be going to see it the first day it opens.

At the start I was reading a chapter at a time, because I was still getting used to the language and writing style of the 1800's. It also helps that I got the Barnes & Noble Classics edition, so it comes with footnotes that explain the cultural references of the time so that isn't totally lost on the reader. It was more about getting the rhythm down of the prose and how the characters talk, and then translate it to my twenty-first century English, and I enjoyed that challenge of conquering the book. And as I adjusted to the style, and got more into the story, I was able to pick up the pace of my reading.

Full disclosure: I have seen the 1994 film adaptation of Little Women, and watched the episode of Friends where Joey got super into the book because it was flying around twitter after the trailer for the new movie was released.

So, I pretty much knew what was going to happen in the book. But, I was still gripped. I knew the events but I didn't know what had been changed or dropped for the movie, and I didn't get the full picture of the March sisters because there aren't whole chapters devoted to them. And since the movie primarily focused on Jo, the way I felt about the other three were how they affected Jo and didn't get as much of a sense of who they were and how they changed over time. Especially in regards to Amy, who I hope gets her due in the upcoming film adaptation that it doesn't seem like she did in the others.

Most of the books I read for fun are usually newly released books, because they're new stories that haven't been spoiled because they really haven't entered pop culture or been adapted into something popular and you can be surprised. And I think it's good to go back and read these classics. Some of them you may not even think you know the ending to because there are adaptations that change some things because there are things you can do in a novel that you can't in a two hour movie. Then there are some that are just adaptations in name only.

It's important to read these books that are considered classics still, find out why they are considered classics, and maybe reevaluate whether those books are a relic of the past, or stand the test of time. And that's an important discourse to have about works of art, whether we should move forward with or without them, enter some works that were paid less attention, for whatever reason, their due, and add newer works to the canon.

Given that this book is still being read 150 years after it was originally published, and is still being adapted for film, I'd say that we should continue to have Little Women on our shelf.

Little Mix Deserves to Break America

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Little Mix are one of the best girl groups of all time.

But, for some reason unbeknownst to me, they aren't big in America, and that is a damn shame.

Little Mix are a girl group who can harmonize, perform in many different styles of music, and dance. They were formed on The X Factor UK, and did what One Direction couldn't: they won the show, becoming the first ever group to do so and broke the girl group curse.

And they have bangers. I could just list songs, but that would pretty much be all of their songs that aren't ballads. Just watch their music videos and listen to those songs and tell me you're not dancing in your seat. And their ballads are good. They make me cry and I had to take them off of my phone because they make me think and feel, and I generally listen to music on shuffle so that is not a good thing for my mood. But when I need them I have them, and they're not sad songs for sad song's sake. They are usually about friendship, insecurity, lost love, among other things. Little Mix also write a lot of their songs, so you know that they genuinely believe their messages and aren't pandering.

Little Mix are the second coming of the Spice Girls.

I love them and want them to break American goddamnit!

Trying to Read More Classics (Written by Women)

Sunday, September 1, 2019
I'm trying to read more, just in general. But then the trailer for Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Little Women came out and I was inspired. So I read Little Women, and then took advantage of a sale and my mother's membership, and went to Barnes & Noble and picked up Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen and Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier. The reason for Jane Austen was that she's a popular name, and one of the best adaptations of her books happens to be one of the best movies of all time, Clueless. The reason for Rebecca was on recommendation of my mother, and I remembered that it was the basis of one of Alfred Hitchcock's early films, released in 1940 starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier. (I knew that without looking it up on Wikipedia. I'm weird with what trivia I know and don't know.)

You may have noticed that all of those books were written by women. That was done on purpose because the last time I read classic literature was for my required reading in high school. The majority of those books (save Mary Shelley's Frankenstein) were written by dudes. They were fine. Except for The Scarlet Letter, which was the worst and should no longer be taught. If you really want them to understand the actual story, have the students watch Easy A. The only classic that the majority of the class enjoyed reading was Frankenstein.

So suck it dudes. I've read enough of your work. Time to expose myself to major works that was not considered important enough to be a part of my AP English Language and Literature curriculum.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Entering into adult life is overwhelming. There's a million ways you could go to start your career, and a million places where you can begin that career. And for someone who has been living with depression and anxiety for most of their life, that feeling of being overwhelmed is increased tenfold.

Making decisions become harder, because all I can see is the many ways I can fail or get stuck in something that makes me unhappy and can't find my way out. Then there is also the feeling that I don't know everything that I need to know to be a professional, or just a functioning adult in society. But, this means I'm stuck in a different limbo. The limbo where I haven't made a decision about what to do, and no decision at all is a decision, becoming altogether numb as days pass.

Unfortunately, the only way out of this situation, is through. And that is just amplifying the terror. Here's hoping I can.

Finally Found Out the Reason I Have Back Pain

Saturday, August 24, 2019
I have been having back pain for years. My original theory was that all of my anxiety was taking a physical form in my upper back. I would treat myself to a massage about once a year. Two weeks ago, I woke up with my legs going one way and my body another, causing lower back pain that would ordinarily go away after a couple of hours but lasted for four days. Finally, my dad suggested getting a massage, and it helped. It wasn't enough, so I went back for a second session six days later. These were my first two sessions with this masseuse, so she would ask questions about where my pain was. During the second session, we were gonna focus on just my back, and she figured out that most of my back pain was coming from my right shoulder, the shoulder and arm I sleep on.

So, my years of back pain was not a psychosomatic response to my anxiety. I was sleeping wrong. Go figure.

Taylor Swift's Identity Crisis

Friday, August 23, 2019
Over the last couple of her album cycles, I think it's safe to say that Taylor Swift is having an artistic identity crisis. Granted, when the public image you've crafted for yourself after almost ten years of hard work, comes crashing down because of a snapchat video, and then need to clear your name and/or acknowledge the scandal in some way, your art will probably feel the impact of that.

Usually when something like this happens to an artist, they take longer than usual to put together their next project, and it's a great examination of themselves. That was not the case with Reputation. She was posturing herself as a villain, and as someone with more of harder edge, both in look and in personality, on that record than she has had through the rest of her records, which leads us to believe she does not have that edge as a person. Other artists are able to transform themselves to fit a new personality with each record, but that's not the case here.

So, after the bust that was Reputation, she is going back to the full-fledged pop that worked wonderfully for her with 1989, and that is Lover.

I would say Lover is definitely better. The only problem is that the production of the songs is so pop it can become bubblegum. It works for her songs with her more complex lyrics, but if the lyrics are simpler or more straightforward, it suffers. Which is why I don't understand how "ME!" or "You Need To Calm Down" were decided to be the lead singles or even on the album. The mix of the super pop production and the lyrics felt like posturing or performative. They're teeny bop. The real issue I'm having with this album is that the production of the songs isn't varied enough. After awhile all the songs started the bleed together. The songs all have this airy quality to them, and she's not really using her full voice.

Much like the songs on Lover need to do for me, Taylor Swift needs to come back down to Earth for a bit. Now that she's planning to re-record her albums, hopefully when she looks back at her earlier work she's reminded of what she's great at. And that's not me trying to box her in, because I love the country of her debut album and Fearless, I love Red and the songs she experimented with (especially "State of Grace"), and I love the pop of 1989. But over the course of the last few years, she's leaned more to the performative side of being an artist and trying to write music for whatever character that album was going to be about. She needs to stop playing characters, and start being herself again in her music.

Stretching My Writing Muscles

Thursday, June 27, 2019
I've been trying to write more. Obviously, you know this if you've been reading this blog. But, I've been using this as a way to stretch those muscles for more than just academic papers, especially now that I've graduated. Now that I'm free of that, I can try to find my personality and writing style, without restriction.

But mainly, it's been about organizing my thoughts. Whenever a thought comes into my head, it's all jumbled, and when I try to speak, I stumble all over myself to where I'm unintelligible. It's not a great feeling when you're trying to impress someone when you can barely form a coherent sentence. Hopefully by writing more, whether it's journal entries like this one or thoughts on the world/culture, those processing skills can become faster and that can translate when I need to speak.

Also I need to work on length.

I Love a Musical

Sunday, June 9, 2019
I can't sing, dance, or act at all, but I love musical theater, and that extends to movie musicals. It's a love that's been passed down from my family. One of my parents' first dates was to see the original Broadway cast of Les Miserables. The first movie I ever saw in a movie theater was The Wizard of Oz. Granted, I was four and fell asleep in the first ten minutes, but it still counts.

A lot of this love because I grew up just after most of the animated movies of the 80s and 90s Disney Renaissance came out, so I had all of those films on VHS. Beauty and the Beast is probably my favorite as well as the best of them. But I love pretty much all of them. Aladdin, The Lion King, Mulan, Hercules, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (which is highly underrated). I have a playlist on my phone full of these songs that I regularly listen to.

In terms of actual musicals I love, it runs the gamut. Hamilton, Company, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Chicago, Kiss Me, KateInto the Woods, The Last Five YearsA Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Anything Goes, Wicked, and honestly that's just what I could think of while writing this, there's probably more.

Musicals, even the really dark ones, are escapism for me. No matter what mood I'm in, there's a musical that can help me forget for a bit. Especially if those musicals have performance clips or were made into a movie, I watch those numbers and can spend hours watching them and have a good cry. Or if I need a good cry, there are plenty of sad songs for me to lip sync to and feel all of the feels.

Musicals get a lot of flack as being stupid because why would people break out into song and dance, and have that be a believable thing someone would do. I love it. Beautiful melodies and flying around or participating in a large dance break. I wish I could sing and dance and be able to do that in my regular life. So why can't you make that leap in your brain and allow this little bit of fantasy in?Because if you could express yourself flawlessly through song and dance, wouldn't you want to?

Earworm: "Rip Her To Shreds" by Blondie

Monday, June 3, 2019
 I just recently saw a magazine cover doing that whole best/worst bikini body thing, I think the first of this summer. And it reminded me of this song. This song is about gossip columns. It was released in 1976, and still true to this day. It's been over forty years since this song came out and those gossip rags have not changed one bit in how they write about celebrities, especially female celebrities. It is bullshit.

On top of all of that, this song is a really great punk rock song.

Writer's Block

Sunday, June 2, 2019
Writing is so hard. I have ideas for stories all the time, but they never come to me in order. So when I finish piecing them together, it does not even resemble an intelligent thought. And it sucks because it sounded, at least, good in my head, and it when it ended up on the page (word document) it was bleh. This isn't the self-deprecating bleh that you see a lot of creative people sometimes say in regards to their work. It is objectively bleh.

Even tiny blog posts like this where it's just my rambling thoughts. The amount of times I delete lines and rewrite them is ridiculous.

Ugh. Back to writing.

I Need to Start Reading For Fun Again

Thursday, May 30, 2019
I don't remember the last time I read a book, and I buy books all the time. One of my favorite places in the world is Barnes & Noble. I could wander through those aisles for hours, pulling different books off of shelves and not leave with a single one and still be satisfied with how I spent my time, so it's pretty much a bonus when I do buy one.

I used to read all the time. I read all of the Harry Potter books, The Girls by Emma Cline, the Percy Jackson books (which deserved better movies), The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Chronicles of Narnia. I even enjoyed a good number of the books that were assigned in grade school like Bridge to Terabithia (for a few different classes), Frankenstein, and Oryx and Crake.

At some point I stopped reading for pleasure. I could blame it on college, but I had time at night and on the weekends to read. I didn't really read during summer breaks either, when I definitely had a bit more free time when I wasn't working.

I really did enjoy reading for fun. There were times I could read an entire book in a day or two, or read well into the night without realizing and it's three in the morning once I've finished the last page. There are plenty of books on my shelf that are definitely worth reading that I haven't picked up yet. Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects has been sitting on my shelf for ages, and I didn't watch the HBO miniseries so it's not spoiled for me. Which means once I finish the book I can watch the show, and that will cross two things off of lists of things I need to read/watch.

There are no more assigned readings in my life, so any time I really read from now on with just be for the hell of it. So that's my goal for this summer. Start reading for fun again. And I have a full shelf of worlds just waiting for me to read.

Earworm: "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Whenever someone asks me what my favorite song of all time is, it's difficult. Even crafting a top five is hard, and it changes all the time as new music is released and the classics are re-evaluated. This song has been a mainstay in my top five for the last few years.

To me it's about people ruling their own world in the limited time they have, with that feeling buoyed by the synth pop. It just feels hopeful, and like you could rule the world someday.

It's not an aggressive song either. A lot of pop songs rely heavily on bass. And that bass gets really repetitive really fast. This song just grooves along.

Also, that synth pop means it can also be applied ironically in movies and tv, which is a trick I love when it's used effectively.

Here's To The Next Show We Watch Together

Sunday, May 19, 2019
Today is the day the final episode of Game of Thrones airs. Whatever you think of this final season, love or hate it, (and I do think the outrage to it is severely out of proportion given the news out of Georgia and Alabama over the last couple of weeks), it's a monumental occasion and no matter how mad people are about the turn of events in the story, no doubt everybody will be watching tonight.

But it's been said that, thanks to the myriad of shows currently airing and streaming changing how and when people watch television, that this is the last show we all watch at the same time. It's the last show on television that airs weekly that will be appointment television, that everyone sits down right when it airs.

I hope that's not the case. There are amazing shows airing on actual television that are worthy of being appointment, water cooler television. This is the time where I try to get others to watch shows that I think deserve this kind of attention and fervor: The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Barry, Silicon Valley, Killing Eve, Documentary Now. I've obviously been in a comedy phase.

But just glancing at the upcoming shows for the next television season, there are some contenders for that next big show. His Dark Materials seems the most obvious. Based on a popular fantasy book series, stacked cast, and it's on HBO. Even though I've never read the books it is based on, I'll probably tune in for it.

I have hope that in this age of streaming, there will be a show that breaks out like Game of Thrones did, where people watch right from the beginning, and they spread that show through word of mouth and soon everybody has to see it.

So, here's to Game of Thrones and the time we've spent together, and here's to the next show and when we meet again.


Tuesday, May 14, 2019
My anxiety functions weirdly. I don't always have big panic attacks. I do have them sometimes, and they're terrible, but those big ones are not a regular occurrence.

Lately I've just become numb.

I graduate from college on May 23. I don't have a job lined up. I don't have an apartment, and I don't want to move back home to Florida.

I know these are things that I have to do in order to be a fully functioning adult, but I can't bring myself to go to career services and ask for help finding work.

Massive lifestyle changes frighten me. When I first started applying to college senior year of high school, it was like I was sleepwalking through that entire process. The first school I went to was the University of Central Florida, and I hated it. I never got involved in campus life, didn't make friends, gained the freshman fifteen, and my depression got worse.

Then I transferred to Pace University, and I thought I was getting better. I was still having trouble making real friends, but I was happier. And then plans for the future started needing to be made, and I realized I don't know what I want to do, in any aspect of my life, and the depression went right back to how it was before.

I've tried therapy three separate times, and it's never really helps. I know that 'it gets better' bullshit and what I need to do, both to get a job and to make friends. I just can't. Every time I go to make some sort of move I get scared, and that fear paralyzes me.

I think the reason for this is because I never had a plan for my life. I never thought I would make it out of middle school, that's how long I've been living with this. I never thought I would have to make these decisions, not even close. Now I have to, and the paralysis is worse than ever.

I just don't want to be a failure. I don't want to feel like I've wasted my parents money. But I do. I graduate in a week, and I have nothing to show for it besides that piece of paper. No job, no friends, no home.

Those thoughts are back and I'm scared.

Earworm: "State of Grace" by Taylor Swift

Saturday, April 13, 2019
Before I get into this song and how it got stuck in my head, I feel like I should provide the history on my feelings about Taylor Swift. I missed the entire first two years of her career when she released and was promoting her first album. Missed "Tim McGraw", "Picture to Burn", probably heard "Our Song" and "Teardrops on My Guitar", but at that point in time I was actively rebelling against country music because it was all my mom would play and I was sick of it. Then, "Love Story" dropped, and I made the connection that the teardrops girl also did this song. And I started to become a fan, but not a fanatic because that is a whole other thing I could write about. As her success grew with the releases of Fearless, Speak NowRed, and 1989, you could see her songwriting start to evolve from straight up country, to country pop, to straight up pop. And the progression was natural. Then reputation dropped.

I do not like that album. At all. It felt that, because of all the negative press attention she had received in the couple of years before that for being mean and a snake, she was going to play right into that, even if it's not an attitude she can front naturally. So, that album did not sound like her at all.
But there was one song that was a musical shift for her, but still sounded like something she would write. That song is the opening track of Red, "State of Grace". This isn't a country song, it's not super poppy. This is a stadium anthem. It's an epic. It's not a song she makes all the time, so when I first played this album in full, it was a surprise. Normally, her bigger anthemic songs like "Change" on Fearless and "Long Live" on Speak Now typically close out her albums. By picking "State of Grace" as the opening track, it feels like a mission statement. Of course, as you make your way through the album, you realize that that song is an outlier, with the remaining tracks much more in her wheelhouse, but more mature and a couple more pop songs than her previous albums.

So, now that she's got the bad girl attitude out of her system, maybe she can rediscover herself, and the kinds of songs that worked for her in the past, without moving backwards. But until then, there's this underrated gem to tide me over.

I Will Be Watching The Final Season of Game of Thrones, Without Watching The First Seven

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
So, Game of Thrones is beginning its final season, and it is a show that I was never able to get into. I tried to, I watched the pilot episode, but it just didn't grab me. And I was fine not watching such a watercooler show, because of just how well known the show became, I was able to pick up references and understand that it was a reference to Thrones, and know the scene that it came from just because of how viral every big event got.
But, this is probably the last big show people will watch together, and I'm sad that that part of our culture is ending. Game of Thrones is part of a class of show where everyone just talked about how good it was and shared their theories, and just fanned out. I think of it as part of a class consisting of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead (when it was good). Those were all shows that a lot of people watched, but I didn't watch them. I've watched episodes of Mad Men here and there on cable. When I though about getting into The Walking Dead, critical reception, among critics and fans, was already starting to turn negative, so I didn't even bother starting that one. And I never felt like I was missing out because I was watching other television shows I enjoyed. But then it was announced that Breaking Bad was ending. Breaking Bad was a show that I had always heard about, but for some reason never started. So when the final season was starting to air, and people wouldn't even share their theories about what they thought would happen and just wanted to watch the next episode because they had to see what happened next, I knew that I had to catch up. So I binged the whole series before the finale aired, and I do not regret that decision, because had it been spoiled for me, I most likely never would have started it.
But, Game of Thrones is a whole different beast. Because of how many watercooler moments that show produced, I pretty much know a lot of what's happened. With Breaking Bad, because it had a much smaller audience, and the show really didn't have that much of a Twitter fanbase, I pretty much avoided spoilers, save for a few iconic lines. So, if I had decided to binge the whole series, it would have felt like I had seen the episodes already. And if I need help understanding something, I'm pretty sure there are about a thousand recap videos on YouTube for those who needed a refresher course for the final season that I could watch, or ask my sister about because she's a Throne-y.
Also, I just am not in the headspace to binge an hour-long drama, as the last two shows I've binged were half-hour comedies, and I am starting a third.
So, here's to the last show that everybody watched. Sorry I wasn't there for the journey, but I can't wait for the destination.

I've Been Starting Shows As Soon As I Know They're Ending

Sunday, March 31, 2019
Tonight is the beginning of the final season of Veep, and I finally binged the whole series in time for the premiere. And about damn time I did because it is so funny, and the insults give me life.

But that is a pattern for me. The first time I ever binged a show because I heard it was ending, and I wanted to watch the final season or finale in real time was Breaking Bad. I binged the whole show in three days before the series finale, because I had heard so much about the show, but I didn't know a lot of the plot details so I didn't want the series ruined for me because people were talking about the ending. So, I embarked on one of the darkest weekends of my life.

I guess I do this because I have been burned by so many shows, particularly dramas, that just go south. It happened with the Lifetime show UnReal. It had a spectacular first season, that I encourage everyone to watch, but the quality of the show steadily declined for seasons 2 and 3 that I didn't even bother finishing the third season or starting the fourth. Because of that, I want to wait and watch the critics and audience respond to the show, and at some point I will pick it up. I will probably know a bit more about the arc of the show than I would like, but that is the price I pay for quality television.

I Do Not Understand The Bachelor

Monday, March 11, 2019
So, "The Bachelor" finale is tonight and the audience will find out what happened after Colton jumped that fence. And I can proudly say, I have never seen an episode of "The Bachelor". The most I've ever seen of that show is random clips on talk shows that then make fun of it, and I laugh.

But for some reason, I have been following this season through recaps on pop culture websites because apparently this season was ridiculous. Three people self-eliminated themselves, which is apparently a Bachelor record. Most of them cited that the format of the show wouldn't allow them to really get to know Colton, with Cassie, the girl Colton really fell for, didn't want to be engaged at then end of the show because it was too fast.

That is my reasoning for why this show is so stupid. All of the contestants talk about how much they love him, even though they barely spent any time with him. The only way I can reconcile why they begin to feel this way is because they are so cooped up in the house, and then the competition starts to sink in, and everyone goes insane.

Yet this still keeps running, and the formula keeps repeating. Most of those relationships don't last, but they still believe they will find love.

Honestly the only good thing that came of this show is the first season of Lifetime's "Unreal", now streaming on Hulu.

I Still Buy Music

Monday, February 18, 2019
I know we're in the age of getting music for five or ten dollars a month, or free if you're cool with ads or piracy, but I still like buying music.

First off, at home I have this super nice Crosley player. It can play vinyl, CDs, cassettes, the radio, has an auxiliary port, and bluetooth. And since there has been the resurgence of vinyl, as well as the passing down of my parents' and my uncle's records to me, I have the perfect player to play them on. Not to mention I can still play my old CDs  from when I was a child.

Second, I love having my iTunes library. As much as Spotify has a lot of music, there is some music that they do not have access to that I actually have to purchase, either through iTunes or physically, in order for me to play it. Also, since this is the same library I've had since I first got my own computer, it's fun to look at all the music I have accumulated since I was nine years old.

Third, there's a sense of ownership when you purchase something. Once I buy a CD, or record that has a download code, or something from the iTunes store, and it gets added to my library, that music is in my possession and it cannot be removed, for whatever reason.

Finally, I know the artist will get paid for me listening to their music. In the age of streaming, there is ongoing reporting about how much artists actually make on those services. I know for the bigger artists who are obviously well off are probably fine, but for smaller artists who don't have as big of an operation around, as the music industry is no longer as centralized and it is hard to get a foothold, it's important to put your money where your headphones are and actually buy their music, a tour ticket, and maybe a piece of merchandise if you can swing it. For those who can't buy every single album of artists they like, share the music and get more people interested and listening to them. Then go to their shows together and have a good time.

Okay, Sure, Happy Birthday, Whatever

Friday, February 15, 2019
So today is my birthday. I am not a party person, so birthdays were never really my thing and I never really cared if I had a huge party or not. It's just another day. I do not understand the big deal people make of birthdays. I get the milestone ages because they are a big deal, but any other average birthday I am fine with a low-key dinner or get together. I don't need that much.

In high school birthdays were a big deal. People would receive a gigantic amount of balloons and would be swamped with gift bags. And as much as I don't want the attention, you can't help but feel jealous watching others get that outpouring of love. And who doesn't love getting presents?

But then you remember that you don't need it. And you can be content with the way you like to celebrate instead of being concerned with how others do.

I Don't Watch Sports on TV, But I Love a Good Sports Doc

Sunday, February 3, 2019
With Super Bowl 53 being played tonight, this will mark the third time I have ever tuned in to watch the "big game", and honestly, it is mostly because I have to watch the ads for a marketing class. Very rarely do I watch sports on television. A couple football or basketball games at family functions, half of the final game of the 2015 Women's World Cup and all seven hours and twenty minutes Game 3 of the 2018 World Series in full. The Olympics are an exception to this, as I will watch as much as I can. But for some reason, watching sports on tv isn't a regular occurrence for me.
One part of it is that I don't really know all of the rules to most sports. So I don't know if there were bad calls made, or a team made a stupid move or a miraculous one, and that is a part of the joy of watching sports.
Another, and probably the biggest hinderance, is the ads. So. Many. Commercial. Breaks. Why they decided cutting to commercial every three minutes was the best game plan for that I have no idea. It interrupts the momentum of the game, and it is hard for me to care about what is going on when my attention is constantly being diverted from the action. They should take the hint from soccer broadcasts, let the quarter play in full, and have a longer than average ad break. It'll be great for fans, and more importantly, probably better for the athletes. The constant stopping and starting is most likely not helpful for athletes and the rates of injury among players.
With all of that said, I love a good sports documentary. The drama, betrayal, joy, and tragedy of sports. I have watched practically all of ESPN's 30 for 30's and love SBNation's YouTube channel. A lot of the time, I am being introduced to the people and events for the first time. And I cannot imaging how much better my viewing experience might be if I had the context of being a sports fan when watching, especially if it was about my team or my favorite player.

Earworm: Carole King's Tapestry

Thursday, January 31, 2019
Why it took me so long to listen to this album I have no idea. It's just warmth. In a time when most of top 40 radio is manufactured beats, you can hear the instruments and I forgot how much I love music where you can tell that instruments are actually being played on the track. 

My favorite track on the album is the opener, "I Feel the Earth Move". It's just joy distilled without the frills, and an uptempo song where the piano is heavily featured. And it feels different from love songs that are released today. It's about the feeling of being in love, and not about how cute they are or what makes them beautiful.

This album also has her version of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". I love Aretha's version, and whenever I need a pick me up, I put on her performance from the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors and listen to Aretha sing and watch Carole King in awe of her. While Aretha's version of the song is passionate, Carole's is tender. Sometimes all you need is some tender loving care.This album is considered one of the greatest albums of all time. And rightly so. I just wish this had entered my life earlier because then I would have had more time to enjoy it.

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