Two Years Later: The Road to Failure, in Itself an Art

Dad and Me

Losing my dad two years ago today was both harder and easier than losing my mom.

It was harder, because I wasn’t there. I’d already moved to Los Angeles at that point, and I found out that he’d passed away on a phone call. Whereas with my mother, I got to be there when they pulled the plug on her life support and say goodbye (she wasn’t conscious, but still), I couldn’t be there for my dad, and that hurt. It still does.

It hurts especially, because of my parents my dad was the one I felt really understood me. We were the same in so many ways. My mother was amazing, of course, and I loved her so much. But my dad and I shared so many things, and they weren’t always good, but they were ours. We were both writers who were (and are) always late to things. We were both social creatures who were extremely stubborn and loved to debate a topic into the ground. We both loved travel, and music, and art of all kinds. We valued our dreams, and thought them as real as anything in “real life.” When I say “I’m my father’s daughter,” I mean it. There’s no one else’s I could be.

But in many ways, it’s because of all this that losing my dad was easier than losing my mom. Whereas my mother died with her mind in tact, and her passing felt more like a sharp tearing away, my father started petering out long before he died. As his mind started to go, shortly after my mother passed away (and apparently, she’d been covering for him in various situations, so we couldn’t tell it had already started happening), he was less and less the person I knew. My dad had entirely defined himself by his mind – talking about the value of education, reading The New York Times and doing the crossword puzzle every day, taking me to all sorts of educational places when I was a kid, and being the happiest for me when I did things like go away on Model UN trips, or go away to Dublin to study for a semester. Whereas my mom always cried, or worried out loud, if my dad worried at all he held it in. He always wanted me to know that it was okay to leave, because leaving meant learning and growing. Leaving meant change, and he never wanted me to feel guilty about that.

And that person started leaving us in 2006/2007, so that by the time he passed away in 2014, we’d already said goodbye a thousand times.

And even though I couldn’t be there, and even though I was so deeply sad that one of the people who understood me best in this world was gone, a part of me felt relief. Because knowing him so well, I knew that he would never ever want to be seen that way. My dad definitely had a lot of pride, and when he was in his right mind would never want to ask for help. So often, I wished he would. But in any case, to go from that person to the person who needs to be bathed and dressed and fed like a child…if he were himself, I know he would’ve hated it.

So, maybe it was for the best that I, of all people, wasn’t there at the very end, to see him on a hospital bed taking his last breath, looking more weak and frail than he’d ever been. He probably would’ve hated that, too. I got to see him looking more dignified. Made up, and in a suit. I got to say goodbye to him when he was more presentable. I think he might have preferred that.

Pretty much everything I do creatively, I do for my dad. (Yes, even Incredible Girl! Did you know that my father wrote a play in the early 1990s that involved a husband who wanted to engage in BDSM with his wife? Yup, he did! The apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree, I guess) Everything I achieve professionally, or pursue artistically, I do it with him in mind. Because for a million reasons he never could.

If you’d like to help me honor my dad today, plan a trip to somewhere you’ve never been or an experience you’ve never had! You can also read the eulogy I read at his wake, or give a donation to your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

And lastly, enjoy this poem from his short collection of poetry called Pillars of My Strength. He wrote these when he was only 23 and in the Air Force stationed at George Air Force Base here in California (which closed in the 1990s), and a lot of these poems are trying way too hard. :) But this one, called “Tomorrow,” totally captures my dad’s personality – his drive, determination, and yes, stubbornness – in a way that remained true for him the rest of his life. It also shows that he knew what his failings were, but could never bring himself to stop fighting:

Failed have I, and well I understand, 
That in my undertakings, pride has played the greatest part. 
The road to failure, in itself an art, 
Was further enhanced by my stubborn stand.
However, even as a sun retreats unto the night
And a baby bird will try until he flies, 
So will I on prophecy rely
When a tomorrow with success will prove me right. 

I miss you, Daddy. And I hope I can be your Tomorrow.

Ramon Jusino Jr.
September 7, 1935 – April 19, 2014

Ten Years Later: Things I Remember, Things She’ll Miss

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My mom died ten years ago today. Ten years. Sometimes it feels like only yesterday. Other times it feels like a million years ago. I’ve come so far and my life has changed so much in the subsequent ten years that it’s often difficult to remember what life with a mother was like.

I can’t just think of her face anymore without help from a photo. What I find myself remembering most are her hands. Watching them as they worked on something, or the way they felt when she’d hug me or hold me.

I remember her laugh. It was big, and raucous, and contagious. I remember that she had a great sense of humor, and that she talked about flirting with the male nurses in the hospital when she was sick. :)

I remember how she cried when I moved into the dorms at NYU, and how I thought it was so silly, because I was only 40 minutes away from the house. Now, I know those tears meant that she loved me so much. I knew that then too, I think, but I was too busy being an independent college student to focus on that.

I remember sitting with her in a hospital room toward the end, and asking her “Don’t worry about hurting my feelings or anything – I know you love me, and Kenny and Janette, and Dad – but if you could’ve done anything else with your life, anything at all, what would you have done?” And she stayed quiet for a long minute and then said “No one’s ever asked me that before.” And she couldn’t come up with an answer, because she’d never really thought about it. But I think she was glad to have been asked and made to think about it.

I remember my mom most when I find myself doing things she taught me – like neatly tying up plastic grocery bags so they’re easier to store, or beating out “Shave and a Haircut” on the side of the pot with a spoon while I’m cooking something.

I also remember her most as I live through things that she never got to see. She never knew that I moved to California, and that I’ve started to build a life and a home in the state where my parents spent the beginning of their marriage. She never met The Fiancee. She won’t be at my wedding. She won’t be around to see any kids I might have. When I go home to New York, while she remains a stop on my People I Need to Visit tour, it involves getting driven out to the cemetery.

She only ever knew me aspiring. She’ll never see me finally get where I’m going, and that makes me sad. I’m always nagged by the feeling that she died worried about me and my well-being. Not just in the way that all mothers will always worry about their kids, but because I’d chosen a less-than-stable career, and I was broke, and I was single, and I didn’t seem to be able to get anything together. I hope that, wherever she is, if she’s able to check in on what’s going on in between Heavenly massages and endless chocolate cake and ice cream that I’m okay. That I’m the best I’ve ever been. That despite the hardships, it’s all working out pretty well. It’s not perfect, but it’s good. It’s evolving in a way I like.

It always hurts a little when I hang out with The Fiancee’s awesome family and I remember that mine’s incomplete. Or when any of my friends talk about their parents coming to town to visit, or going to visit them back home. I’ll never have that, and I always try to remind them to treasure their parents while they’re still around. Even when they’re annoying. :) I’m so glad that I went to go visit my mom in the nursing home, or the hospital, even when I “didn’t feel like it.” My only regret is that I didn’t do it even more.

It’s been ten years, and I miss her. There’s a hole in my life that was supposed to be filled by her that now isn’t. But I’m grateful that she was my mother. She was the best one I could’ve asked for. She wasn’t perfect, but she was perfect for me, and as often as she made me mad, or inadvertently hurt my feelings, or said something less-than-progressive and made me cringe, I also never doubted that she loved me.

She always let me know, sometimes through her words, but more often through her actions, that she loved me and was always there for me no matter what. She encouraged me even when she wasn’t sure what I was doing – like that whole “acting thing” or “being a writer” or whatever. Sure, she’d encourage me to get a “real job,” but she also never said I should give up the other stuff I wanted to do. She just wanted me to be practical and careful. And she would often surprise me. Despite those less-than-progressive things she’d sometimes say, she was equally likely to surprise me with a completely progressive opinion on something when I least expected it.

It’s how I know that she’d be surprised, but ultimately supportive of my upcoming marriage to The Fiancee. She’d love her, because I do. I just wish they would’ve gotten to know each other.
Anyway, I think my rambling’s at an end. I love my mom. I miss her. I celebrate her and the wonderful (and wonderfully complex) person she was. And I’m grateful for her.

If you’d like to help me remember my mom, feel free to go to your nearest Puerto Rican restaurant and eat a pastel in her honor. :) You can read the eulogy I read at her funeral. Otherwise, a donation to your local chapter of the American Diabetes Association is always a great choice.

Mariana Hernandez Jusino
September 21, 1935 – April 5, 2006

IG Logo on Pink

Incredible Girl Teaches Us About Bathroom Pervertables

The Incredible Girl crowdfunding campaign is going strong over at IndieGoGo, and as of this writing we’ve broken $2000! If you want to help us reach the next milestone ($3000), click on and share this link: http://bit.ly/IncredibleGirl

In the meantime, please enjoy Incredible Girl’s first in a series of videos she’s done on “pervertables” – those items around your home that might have more uses than you think! :)

I can’t wait to bring this, and all the other colorful characters that are a part of this series to life by producing our pilot! Join the effort to make a show like this a reality!

And thank you!

IG Logo on Pink

The Incredible Girl Crowdfunding Campaign is LIVE on IndieGoGo!

FINALLY. After over two years of working on this project – and ending up with a pilot script that I’m immensely proud of – Aurora and I are finally ready to start sharing Incredible Girl with the world! And it all starts with the above video!

For more content, as well as to find out how you can help us produce the half-hour pilot of Incredible Girl, click on THIS LINK: http://bit.ly/IncredibleGirl 

If you’re compelled to back the campaign once you’ve visited our IndieGoGo page, please BACK THE CAMPAIGN TODAY! Campaigns that raise 25% of their goal on the first day are statistically more likely to succeed in reaching their goal! Help us be one of those campaigns!

Also, it would just make us really happy and reassure us that we’re not just screaming into the void.  :)

But seriously, even if you don’t think that the subject matter is your bag, check it out anyway. You may be pleasantly surprised. At its core, Incredible Girl is a story about love and finding your voice. I think those are things you all can get behind, right? 

Whether you can back us or not, remember that sharing is caring! Share the link to the campaign with anyone you know who wants to see more smart, female-led, inclusive, and sex-positive content in the world! http://bit.ly/IncredibleGirl 

And we’ll be releasing fun new content throughout our campaign! So if you’re not already, make sure you’re following Incredible Girl on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and on YouTube so you don’t miss a thing!

Stay tuned! The Incredible Girl adventure is just beginning!

(HUGE thanks to Jenny Doll for designing our awesome IG logo, Alec Bernal and Miguel Amodio of Inner Image Media for editing our pitch video, and Kevin Boot for shooting it!)

Ada and Me at Dyke Day 2015

SHE SAID/SHE SAID 2: Demolition Man

I know, I know! It’s been a bit. So, sue me.  :) The Fiancee and I kicked back to watch another movie, and this time, it was one that she selected. One of her favorites from her youth, in fact…

Demolition_Man

The fiancee’S PICK: DEMOLITION MAN (1993)

Demolition Man t takes place in a future society where there’s no crime. But the story actually starts in L.A. in the “near future” (aka the Late Nineties), when L.A. has become a total crap hole. Sylvester Stallone’s “Demolition Man” aka LAPD Sergeant John Spartan is trying to take down a career criminal named Simon Phoenix, played by Wesley Snipes, who’s taken hostages in an abandoned building.

Spartan, being the kind of cop who “doesn’t follow the rules” in movies, makes an unauthorized call to go after Phoenix that causes the entire building to explode and Spartan to be charged with manslaughter for killing the hostages (PS – they were already dead, because Phoenix is not a nice dude). But rather than going to regular jail, they put him in their new “Cryo-Penitentiary” – the idea being that inmates are frozen, and rehabilitated through chemical conditioning while in deep freeze.

Cut to 2032 (the Future!), when Phoenix, who was captured and also put in deep freeze, manages to escape the cryo-penitentiary and goes on a killing spree! The cops can’t handle it. Why? Because in the future, there’s no crime, because after the Great Earthquake “San Angeles” (the new metroplex made up of L.A, San Diego, and Santa Barbara) has become a sort-of utopia helmed by pacifist Doctor Raymond Cocteau who has somehow made anything “bad” (which incorporates everything from swearing, to fast food, to sex) illegal, causing the city to turn into this overly-sanitized place where the police have become completely incapable of dealing with problems, because there “aren’t any.”

snipes

Except of course for the poor people who’ve been forced to live in an underground sewer city that no one takes care of or cares about. Called the Scraps (and led by Dennis Leary basically playing himself), these impoverished people who’ve been pushed underground for their free-thought and their unseemliness have begun pushing back against the society that wishes them gone by coming above ground to steal food and other resources.

Long story less long, Cocteau altered Phoenix’s chemical conditioning to give him even more of his bad traits and to embed a goal in his mind – Kill Dennis Leary, er, Edgar Friendly. Spartan is unfrozen to deal with Phoenix and is partnered up with Sandra Bullock’s cop, Lt. Lenina Huxley (Brave New World reference, whaaaat?), who is obsessed with 20th Century culture. Action, mayhem, and hilarity over seashells ensues.

Why does The Fiancee like this movie so much?

“It’s just a fun action comedy. Sort of like this absurd future society where everyone is very polite, and no one commits any crimes, but it’s all just a facade. I don’t know…I like it. It’s funny. It’s mostly the humor that I like. There’s good action, too, but I mostly like it as a comedy.” 

And why does she think I should or would like this movie?

“I think you would think its funny.” 

Aaaaand there you have it. :) That’s my laconic sweetie pie for you.

demolition man swearing

WHAT DID I THINK?

I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to watch this. But I have to say, that not only did I enjoy it more than I thought I would, but it was surprisingly more thought-provoking than I thought it would be.

This movie is definitely early-1990s. cheeseball action film. However, Spartan and Huxley are a great team and have awesome chemistry. You enjoy watching them navigate the case, and each other throughout. Wesley Snipes was a pretty stylized villain as Phoenix, but that’s pretty much to be expected for a movie of this type, and he looked like he was having a ball playing this part.

I especially loved Huxley. I loved that she was this extremely competent cop (for her time) who was also completely earnest. I loved that she was a 20th Century geek, and I loved her attempts at 20th Century slang. She was such a sweet character, which is rare for a movie like this.

The Fiancee was right, too, about the humor. Demolition Man was pretty hilarious, and a lot of fun! (and what IS the deal with the three seashells?!)

What really struck me about this film, though, is how much it made me think, both as the movie was going on, and long afterwards. I thought about the socioeconomic issues the film’s script brings up…and then I thought about the current issues that this film unwittingly embodies.

let's go blow this guy - demolition man

As for what’s in the film, you’re definitely forced to think about what a True Utopia would mean. After all, nothing can be completely perfect unless you silence/get rid of those who are less-than-perfect, and what does that say about your civilization? Perfection means marginalizing people: the poor, the weak, the uneducated, etc. The film also explores the idea that pleasure is sometimes “dirty,” and that that’s okay and what makes us human. Touching-each-other sex? Way better than sex via virtual reality helmet.

But then, there are issues that came up for me as I examined the film through a modern lens. Like, I thought it was a shame that the “criminals” in this utopia who were sympathetic (you understand them, because they’re poor and not being treated fairly) are led by the white guy and are mostly white themselves, whereas the “real” criminal – the psychopath – was played by the black guy. Granted, Phoenix is a bigger role, and I’m glad that Snipes has it, but it’s interesting to see the subtle messaging that’s happening here. White people who commit crimes are sympathetic, because they “probably have a good reason,” but black people are just crazy.

It’s the kind of thing that, had this film been made a decade later, a savvy screenwriter might have referenced in the text and used. Alas.

Bottom line, Demolition Man is hugely entertaining, and will reaffirm any progressive values you hold.

Well, that’s it for this week! Now that I’ve taken two weeks off to get over being sick as well as some other stuff that’s happened recently, I definitely hope to get back to regular blogging here at TJXP.

So there should be another She Said/She Said here next week! (Hopefully!)

This post is supported by Patreon.

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Sometimes, You Just Need to Stop DOING

 

Hey there, everyone!

I came out of the gate hard at the beginning of this year, and started the first week of 2016 with a blog post here every single day! It was great! It was exactly what I wanted my blog to look like!

Then I got sick. And after days of doing absolutely nothing (which I absolutely needed), I came into the following week feeling better, but needing to ease back into my routine. And do you know what? I didn’t feel bad about it. I basically did the bare minimum of what I needed to be doing last week. Worked at The Mary Sue. Went to a couple of meetings I’d had scheduled for a while. But other than that, I kept taking it easy, because I still wasn’t at 100%, and I wasn’t going to force myself to “be productive” for the sake of it.

All of this is to say that I’m feeling much better this week! Well-rested, well-planned, and raring to go! And so, here I am – back to my old bloggy ways.

Some things you should know:

1) I’m not going to be keeping up with the 52 Week Challenge here every week the way I was planning. I’ll still be doing it, but I’ve decided that I’d prefer that The Teresa Jusino Experience remain a Monday-Friday enterprise. Weekends are mine, and so I won’t be posting.  If you’d like to do the challenge yourself, head on over to Erin Dullea’s site and sign up!

2) Now would be a great time to consider becoming one of my Patrons at Patreon! Starting next week, I’ll be sharing the novel I’m working on exclusively with Patrons as I write it – 200 words at a time. :) Since January 1st I’ve been writing 200 words a day of the book I’ve outlined. Which isn’t a lot – until you consider that if I do that 365 times this year, that’s a 73,000-word manuscript. No one’s waiting for this book. There are no deadlines, and I have other scripts and projects I’m working on around it. But I’ve been putting this book on the back-burner for far too long. So, rather than waiting for the big chunks of time I thought I needed to devote to it. I’m going to chip away at it bit by 200-word bit until it’s done. It may be slower, but it’ll be way more effective than procrastination, don’t you agree?

So, if you’re interested in keeping up with my progress on this, and other works I plan on sharing exclusively with Patrons, check out my Patreon page and consider supporting my efforts there by pledging at least $1 per story I create. You’ll be able to read my novel hotter than hot off the presses and follow my progress and process as I work.

Surely, that’s interesting to at least some of you, right? :)

3) Lastly, I’ll soon be announcing a series of giveaways I’ll be doing here and around my social media feeds, so stay tuned!

And I’ll see you all back here tomorrow!

Ada and Me at Dyke Day 2015

She Said/She Said 1: In Bruges

When I’m not watching films on my own, I’m usually watching them with The Fiancee. There’s a five year age difference between us, which isn’t a lot in normal years, but can be a lot in pop culture years. We were teenagers at different times, in college at different times. So, films that are seminal and absolutely necessary to me are mere blips on her radar. Films that are absolute musts to her are films that I’ve either never heard of, or have been “meaning to get to” for years without trying very hard.

And thus, a new feature at The Experience was born! For She Said/She Said, The Fiancee and I are going to take turns choosing movies (or TV shows) for each other every week. Then, you’ll get both our takes on it.  It’s like two film reviews in one! However, she’s notoriously way less verbose than I, so it’s more like one and a half film reviews in one. 😉 Still, I’ll be very interested to see what she has in store for me, and I’m excited to share some of my favorites with her.

We started with one of my picks…

in bruges poster

TERESA’S PICK: In Bruges (2008)

Why is This Movie Important to Her?

First of all, I’m a Ralph Fiennes hipster in that I was a huge fan of Ralph Fiennes loooong before Voldemort. I was pretty much a Ralph Fiennes groupie from the first time I saw him in Quiz Show when I was, like, fifteen and liking an actor like Ralph Fiennes was so not cool. I was one of the few teenage girls who gave two shits about The English Patient. As a college freshman, I stole an English Patient cardboard cutout from a Blockbuster and put it in my dorm room:

Dorm Room Freshman year 1 - 1998

Freshman year dorm, 1998. Yup. The English Patient and Winnie the Pooh were my JAMS when I was 18.

 

Freshman Year Dorm Room - 1998

Dat Ralph Fiennes shrine, tho. 1998. Also, I apparently had a thing for those milk ads.

I was obsessed with everything this man was in. By 2008, my Ralph Fiennes love had waned…a little. But I was pretty much only interested in this movie because he was in it.

I also had severe wanderlust in 2008. In 2007, I’d taken a magical, once-in-a-lifetime (well, for most people – I totally plan on taking many trips like that again), month-long trip to France and Spain to visit friends, and coming home made me so sad. I missed the adventure of traveling somewhere new, and so In Bruges fed that urge as well, as it takes place in a truly magical-looking city.

OK, so it’s about hit men, drug dealers, and racists. Whatever.

Why Should The Fiancee Watch This?

In a weird way, this film gets at the core of who I am. Beautiful European location? Check. Sardonic humor? Check. Stylized violence? Check. It’s like everything I like about different movies in one movie.

That, and it’s the first time I’d ever seen Ralph Fiennes play a role so against type. Even in Strange Days, when he was supposed to be in the LAPD, he was still pretty much being Ralph Fiennes. But watching him play Harry in In Bruges was awesome and hilarious. The entire cast is great. Colin Farrell plays a surprisingly lovable asshole, and Brendan Gleeson is wonderful as a hit man with a heart of gold.

Lastly, I love films not made in the United States. This film was a British-US co-production written by playwright and screenwriter Martin McDonagh, and I love the film’s British humor and sensibility. Watching movies made elsewhere reminds me that there’s so much more that can be done with film than what I’m used to.

In short, I thought it would appeal to her weirdness the way it appeals to my weirdness. :)

inbruges

What Did The Fiancee Think?

Being that she’s not verbose, when I first asked her what she thought, she simply said, “It was good.” :)

Then, I got her talking and surreptitiously recorded her with my phone. (I told her afterwards, don’t worry. Her responses are in bold.)

“Just…what did you think?”
“I liked it.”
(long pause)
“Cool.”
“I liked it. I want some more wine. Do you want some more wine?”
“I’ve got, still.”
“Then  I’m gonna have some more wine.” 
“Okay.”

**she goes to get wine**

(from the kitchen) “There’s not a whole lot left. Do you mind if I finish it off?”
“You’re totally welcome to finish it off.”
“Um…why don’t you interview me about the movie, rather than telling me to think of thoughts?
“Well, I mean, it doesn’t have to be…I just wanna know what you thought. Your reaction to it.”
(loooooong pause)
“I liked it.” (laughs) “Um…I liked that there were no ‘good guys’ or ‘bad guys’ really. That everybody was just kind of…I mean, everyone was a bad guy, really.”
“Yeah”
“There just weren’t any good guys.” 
“It was pretty hilarious, too.”
“Yeah, I kinda like movies where there aren’t any good guys.” (laughs)
“Yeah. I just thought this was like…it wasn’t what I expected when I watched it the first time. Like, I think I rented it from Netflix the first time. When they did DVDs? They still sort of do, but…”
“Yeah…they might have spun that off into another business or something.”
“Yeah. But, um, like, I expected it to be a straight-up gangster movie, and it was so funny and lighthearted in a weird way, and I was like Whoa! This is not the movie I thought I was gonna watch!
“But still dark in another way.”
“Yeah. And also, I love Ralph Fiennes as a thuggy hooligan.”
“Yeah, that was good.”
“I think this is the first movie where he, like, did that. Trying to get out of the whole WASP-y…fuckin’…upper crust parts he always gets. Or, you know, Nazis.”
“Well, he was something different in Red Dragon.” 
“Yeah, that was after this.”
“Oh, it was?”
“I think so…wasn’t it? Well, now I need to see when this was.”

**we both furiously consult the internet**

In Bruges was 2008.”
“OK, so it was late in the decade…”
Red Dragon was 2002.”
“Oh! Well then that was different.”
“Also, I wanna see what movie I was thinking of that had Ben Kingsley in it as like a gangster or something, like in Europe. If I can find it. He’s in a lot of fucking movies. I think it must have come out around the same time…”

**more internet searching**

“Oh! Lucky Number Slevin! That’s what I was thinking of.”
“Slevin? It’s called Slevin?”
Lucky Number Slevin. That’s the movie. It was two years earlier, but whatever.” 
“Oh, interesting. Similar type movie?”
“Uh, I don’t know. I never saw it either, but for some reason I was conflating the two…maybe it’s not even in Europe. It has Josh Hartnett and Morgan Freeman in it. Bruce Willis…”
“Yeah, that’s a lot of, like, Known People.”
“Lucy Liu….yeah I think it was like Ben Freeman and Morgan Kingsley play like two rival…”
“Wait, who?”

**WE BOTH BURST OUT LAUGHING**

“Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman (laughs). They switched last names. Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman….”

**MORE GUFFAWS**

“That was like the most perfect…like, I’ve never heard that in real life. That’s something that would be faked in like a movie.”
“Uh, I think – if I recall from the trailer – they played like two rival crime lords or something. Lemme look it up on YouTube.”
(as she looks it up) “So are you glad that you finally saw this?”
“Yes! It was good. I enjoyed it.”
“OK, good.”
“I don’t really know what the Belgian lady saw in Colin Farrell, ’cause he was kind of a dick.”
“He was…but he was like…a dick who was kind of like…a child? It’s almost like…It’s one thing if you’re a dick and you’re, like, super masculine and about to hit somebody?”
“That’s true.”
“And it’s another thing when you’re a dick and you’re like…she was treating him like a sixteen year old. Like You’re a dick, but you’ll learn. Like that kind of thing.”
“I guess.”
“Plus, she wasn’t no great shakes neither. She was gonna rob him, she does drugs, she sells drugs…like, she doesn’t actually work in film.”
“Yeah, no. I know.”

And then, we watched the trailer for Lucky Number Slevin, which is similar to In Bruges, but much more “American:”

So, this is the kind of film discussion you get between a pop culture critic and a production sound mixer. Take that for what it’s worth. :) Next time, I think we will do it more interview-style, and I like recording our conversation. Off-the-cuff and full of references to our drinking habits. Just the way I like it!

“Tune in” next week for more She Said/She Said!

This post is supported by Patreon.

Reise ins Labyrinth, Die
USA 1986
Regie: Jim Henson
Darsteller: David Bowie
Rollen: Koboldkoenig Jareth

The David Bowie Songs I Used to Not Realize Were David Bowie Songs

David Bowie has towered over not only music, but films (like the awesomeness that is his turn as The Goblin King in Labyrinth) my whole life. The funny thing is, his versatility as an artist kept me from knowing which songs were his exactly for a long time.

Mostly because I was totally uncool growing up, and didn’t really look into the music I consumed very carefully, nor did I consume much outside Top 40 until I got to college.

Now, I must have heard David Bowie in the background of my early childhood. After all, my siblings are 15 and 16 years my senior. They were in high school in the 1970s, and grew up with David Bowie as part of the soundtrack of their lives. It was through my siblings that I got to know Billy Joel, Led Zeppelin, and Kiss among others. I’m sure David Bowie was in there somewhere.

But again, Bowie was so versatile, that I never really put together his body of work at that age.

College was really when my musical knowledge started expanding, mostly because I was coming into contact with students from all over the country (and the world!) at NYU, who all brought with them their own experiences and musical tastes. That expansion continued into my twenties as I moved into apartments with roommates.

I’m not a music geek – I rely on recommendations, because while I love music, I don’t seek it out the same way as I do, say, good comics or sci-fi. So I relied on my friends to tell me what was what. So many of them had David Bowie CDs in their collections.

But I, being completely clueless and not realizing that I’d already heard so much David Bowie in my life, looked at those CDs and would think David Bowie’s totally one of those classic rockers I need to get to know better. One day, I’ll listen to him.

Not realizing I’d already listened to him.

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And so, with each of the following songs, I remember there being a point when someone would play it, and tell me it was David Bowie, and my response wouldn’t be “Oh cool. Now I know what David Bowie’s stuff sounds like.” It would be, “Oh! That song is David Bowie!”

Then, “Wait, that’s David Bowie, too?”

And then, “Hold on…that’s David Bowie, too?”

And finally, when I was living in Astoria with my friends Liz and Adam, each of whom loved Bowie – LIz probably more than anyone I knew until I met The Fiancee –  “Whoa. I guess I have listened to David Bowie before. I just didn’t realize all these awesome, completely different-sounding songs were written by the same guy!”

“Space Oddity” always spoke to my sci-fi, space-loving heart. It also speaks to my romantic side, both for its spirit of adventure, and the fact that the narrator’s last thoughts are about his wife, and he’s told that she knows how much he loves her. *sigh*

I’d always liked “Young Americans” when I first heard heard it, but when it was used as the end credits music for the Lars Von Trier film, Dogville, I loved it even more.

Oh my God, this fucking guitar on this song. I just can’t.

And of course, one of the coolest collaborations ever. I’d like to think that Freddie Mercury has been waiting for Bowie to show up so they can finally sing this song together again.

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The Fiancee has been excited about Bowie’s newest (and final) album called Blackstar. The knowledge that Bowie specifically created the album with is own impending death in mind and created it as a “parting gift” to the people who love his music is astounding to me, and makes me excited about it, too.

David Bowie was a true artist in every sense of the word, and I love that his final act of creation was so well thought out; that despite everything he was going through, he was an artist right up until the very end, leaving us a catalog of amazing music and films in various styles and personas to comb through and be inspired by forever.

Thank you for your art, Mr. Bowie. I know who you are now and exactly what songs you were responsible for. Took me long enough, right?

I’ll now leave you all with another one of my favorite Bowie collaborations, which also happens to be one of my favorite renditions of a Christmas song:

This post is supported by Patreon.

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DARING TO DARE: WEEK 2

Wanna know how I did for Week 1? Check out that post HERE.

Also, a reminder that these dares are not my content. I’m only writing about my experience with this. 52 Dares belongs to Erin Dullea, and you should totally check out her site!

How will I top being naked on the set of a TV show? Hmmm....

How will I top being naked on the set of a TV show? Hmmm….

THIS WEEK’S DARE: 

Write down your dirty dozen.

Oh yeah, you’re getting dirty this week!

Grab a pen and paper (let’s do this old-school) – and create a list of twelve daring things you’d love to do.  They’re called “dirty” because this list is NOT about writing down nice, this-would-make-my-mom-proud goals that perhaps you should do. You’re going for experiences that would make you feel alive.

Be prepared for some of these to have a “but…” attached to it. Like you’d love to learn to play piano, but you’re too old. Or you’d love to do a super sexy photo shoot, but you don’t have the body for it.

Never mind any of that.

Dream it up. Put it on paper. Hang it somewhere you’ll see it often. Let this list come to life.

And then take one step this week towards making one of the dirty dozen happen. One step, my friend. You can do it.


Let’s see what I come up with! I’m actually excited to brainstorm this! Have a great week, everyone! And if you’ve got things you’d like to dare yourself, tell me about them in the comments below!

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DARING TO DARE: WEEK 1 RESULTS

I meant to do this yesterday, but I was at a WriteGirl event all day and came back exhausted. However, last week I did manage to make a go of my first weekly challenge:

Go where you haven’t gone before. Or go a little further. Give yourself plenty of wide, open space without needing to go or be anywhere specific.

Just go. 

Who knows where it might lead you?

I had an evening of wandering on Wednesday…

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East Coaster with an umbrella walking in L.A.

I had an appointment in West Hollywood, and afterwards, I went to a cafe I’d never been to (Caffe Primo, which is pretty rad!) for dinner and free wi-fi so I could get you my Legend of Billie Jean post. After that, I decided to take a walk. Who says “no one walks in L.A?” Not only do I walk in L.A, but I’ll even do it in the rain. Though I don’t own an umbrella myself, The Fiancee had one in her car that I borrowed for the day. So I was prepared for the evening’s inclement weather.

Well, sort of. The umbrella was small, and my pant legs and sneakers ended up getting soaked, but weirdly enough that made me feel like I was at home. Moments of me walking through NYC in the rain, sitting in damp jeans on the subway, dodging away from traffic spraying water onto the sidewalk….I’d missed that. And so I found myself strangely enjoying the chill in my bones as I wandered around West Hollywood – an area of L.A. I’d been to before to get to specific places, but never really explored.

I ended up at Book Soup, a bookstore I’d heard of, but never been to. I really love it. It’s organized really well, they have a great selection, and the staff was ridiculously helpful. I found some familiar faces on the shelves in the memoir section…

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Two of my favorite ladies on the shelf at Book Soup! “Drawing Blood” by Molly Crabapple and “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” by Felicia Day.

…and even though I’ve made myself a promise not to buy any books this year (except for Jonathan Safran Foer’s when it comes out in September), because I want to read all the unread books on my shelf first, I made no such promises about notebooks. Ended up buying a 3-pack of Moleskin blank books.

As I exited the store, I noticed this across the street…

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RIP Tower Records

At first, I thought Holy crap! Didn’t Tower Records close? Is this, like, the last one or something? It is not. It’s an empty store. I went over to investigate, and it looked so sad and empty, and suddenly I felt really old. I remembered going to the Tower Records on East 4th Street in the Village near the Tisch building after class when I was at NYU. That place was the jam.

Anyway, I proceeded along Sunset after that, and I decided I wanted to do something I never had before. Go to a bar alone for a drink. I don’t know why the idea of that made me nervous – I’ve eaten alone and gone to the movies alone before, but drinking alone is different to me for some reason. Bars are inherently social, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be social. I just wanted to sit and have a drink…

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After not feeling the vibe at several other bars, I ended up stopping at The Den for a beer. It’s a bar that lives up to its name – really cozy and homey. Even better, they had karaoke on that night! I thought briefly about putting a song in, but decided against it. I was sopping wet and would’ve looked like a stray cat at the mic.

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My beer keeping warm by the fire.

So, I got a Delirium Tremens and made my way to the outdoor area, which had picnic tables and a fire pit! It was the perfect place to warm up after being out in the rain, which had obviously stopped by this point: I sat with a beer and people-watched as I wrote in my journal, and it was really nice. It’s really difficult for me to shut my brain off a lot of the time, but doing this – wandering into a bar with no particular place to be and nothing to do just to sit and chill and write was exactly what I needed.

All in all, I’m glad this dare allowed me to do something I’d always wanted to do, while giving me a night where I could allow my mind to quiet down and simply take in the scenery without being the least bit productive.

Not a bad first dare!