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.

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