The Teresa Jusino Experience

Create Like An Activist

Author: Teresa (Page 1 of 30)

Teresa’s L.A. Firsts: DISNEYLAND

It’s been a great couple of days! I found out I was going to be in the Monstrous anthology (a fact which Paul Cornell was kind enough to mention on his blog. Thanks, Paul!), and I got to help my good friend, Heather, celebrate her birthday while going to The Happiest Place on Earth for the first time!

That’s right – after a year and four months of living in L.A., I finally went to Disneyland for the first time. And I couldn’t have had a better first experience!

An old friend of my sister’s, Jimmy, is a musician at the park, and met up with me to sign me in. He hadn’t seen me since I was about four or five years old! So, we had a fun time catching up.

DSCN0001

Me and Jimmy. A lot’s changed since I was in nursery school!

We, along with Heather, the Birthday Girl; Alex, her beau; and Dave, their friend who is a photographer at the park and signed them in, started heading down Main Street! First stop – getting our buttons!

My "1st Visit" Button! It's official!

My “1st Visit” Button! It’s official!

Me and the Birthday Girl, wearing her birthday button!

Me and the Birthday Girl, wearing her birthday button!

Now, I’m a generally happy person and tend to describe myself as a “twelve-year-old boy trapped in the body of a 33-year-old woman.” 🙂 But I have to say that at first, I didn’t see what the big deal was. I mean, I’d been to Disneyworld in Florida before, as well as to other theme parks and amusement parks…but people here talk about Disneyland as if it’s a religious experience. When we first started walking around, I thought to myself “It’s cute and everything…but it’s just Disneyland. Whatever.”

We started in Adventureland with the Jungle Cruise, then did the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion…and I started to feel the Disney Spirit. By the time Alex had to move the car and Heather and I decided to do the “Baby Rides” while he was gone (the teacups, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Dumbo), I was fully in touch with my inner child! I don’t know how he did it, but Walt Disney managed to create a place where you can’t help but embrace the childish wonder inside yourself. By the time of the castle fireworks show at the end of the night, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of magic and hope, and despite the sky being a bit overcast, I “oohed” and “ahhhed” at every burst of color in the sky (and at Tinkerbell flying over the castle in a harness! Yeesh! I hope she gets paid extra for that!)

Teacups!

Teacups!

The view from Dumbo.

The view from Dumbo.

You know, I've never seen this movie. But the ride was adorable!

You know, I’ve never seen this movie. But the ride was adorable!

Speaking of childish wonder, I’d forgotten exactly how much I loved the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? when I was a kid, but when I got to Toontown, I felt immediately giddy!

Toontown!

Toontown!

Oh...my....God...it's....DIIIIIIIIIIIIIP!

Oh…my….God…it’s….DIIIIIIIIIIIIIP!

Spying on Jessica Rabbit.

Spying on Jessica Rabbit.

Taking "blowing up your spot" to a whole new level!

Taking “blowing up your spot” to a whole new level!

But it wasn’t all childish wonder. There was some genuine, grown-up adventure to be had, too! The Indiana Jones ride was awesome! The Matterhorn was surprisingly frightening, if only because I was genuinely worried that my head was gonna get lopped off! And we loved Star Tours so much, we went on it twice!

C-3PO gets our Star Tours flight ready.

C-3PO gets our Star Tours flight ready.

But we all know R2-D2 does all the work!

But we all know R2-D2 does all the work!

Rocking my extremely stylish Star Tours flight glasses. I love how the dude behind me is trying to not be photographed. :) GOTCHA ANYWAY!

Rocking my extremely stylish Star Tours flight glasses. I love how the dude behind me is trying to not be photographed. 🙂 GOTCHA ANYWAY!

And the food…OH, THE FOOD! I ate WAY more than I thought I would…

The fried chicken at Plaza Inn is God's Fried Chicken. And for the HUGE amount of food you get, it's the one place where you don't feel like your meal is overpriced!

The fried chicken at Plaza Inn is God’s Fried Chicken. And for the HUGE amount of food you get, it’s the one place where you don’t feel like your meal is overpriced!

Gibson Girl ice cream rocked our socks!

Gibson Girl ice cream rocked our socks!

And we can’t forget the “celebrity sightings!” 🙂 We met Woody from Toy Story, Goofy as he led the New Orleans band, and over at California Adventure, we went to Cars Land and met DJ, Lightning McQueen, and my car boyfriend, Mater! 🙂 Sadly, the wait for the Cars ride was too long for us to get on before closing, but it looks AMAZING, and will definitely be a priority for my next visit!

Woody was such a gentleman!

Woody was such a gentleman!

No matter how dreary the day, Goofy knows how to brighten things up!

No matter how dreary the day, Goofy knows how to brighten things up!

Going our way? :)

Going our way? 🙂

DJ knows how to get the party started!

DJ knows how to get the party started!

Of COURSE Lightning McQueen would be too busy to stop for a photo...

Of COURSE Lightning McQueen would be too busy to stop for a photo…

Mater and I have a deep, true love.

Mater and I have a deep, true love.

We had a HILARIOUS experience with Mater! Once he found out it was Heather's birthday, he started singing her The Birthday Song...but couldn't remember the words. :)

We had a HILARIOUS experience with Mater! Once he found out it was Heather’s birthday, he started singing her The Birthday Song…but couldn’t remember the words. 🙂

After a quick tour of California Adventure (complete with an awesome fountain light show and Muppets in 3D), it was back to the Disneyland park. Because no trip to any Disney park is complete without a ride on Space Montain! 🙂

It was an awesome day with great friends – and I’m already looking forward to my next trip!

Yup. My face here pretty much sums up how I feel about this ride.

Yup. My face here pretty much sums up how I feel about this ride.

Is the “Last Acceptable Prejudice” Really the Last?

Mickey, being kind of a dick.

First, I’d like to give a shout-out and a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my girl Heather “Cat” Harris! Right now, we’re getting ready to celebrate by going to Disneyland! It’ll be my first trip to Disney, and I’m SO EXCITED! 🙂

But before I go…yesterday, I had a huge response to my post, “The Last Acceptable Prejudice.” I’m so glad that so many people got so much out of it and shared it around the interwebz to start what is, in my opinion, a really important conversation about fat shaming. That’s why I put writing into the world – not only to communicate ideas myself, but to help others do the same.

However, a genderqueer friend of mine gave me some quality food for thought yesterday when zhe brought up the fact that the “last acceptable prejudice” isn’t against fat people, but against transgender people. I thought this was really interesting.

While I have my reasons ultimately disagreeing with that – ones I will put into a more substantive post later, I’m curious as to what you all have to say about it. So, by all means, comment below! Is the last acceptable prejudice against transgender people? I think this is an important conversation, too, and I’d love to include all of you in that discussion.

Meanwhile, I’m off to Disneyland! I’ll tell Mickey and Minnie you all say hello. 🙂

My First Foray Into Comics!

Art by Mariah McCourt, from her Masters final project, EAT. As seen on the Monstrous blog.

Art by Mariah McCourt, from her Masters final project, EAT. As seen on the Monstrous blog.

OMG, I’m so excited right now, I’m literally bouncing up and down in my seat!

So, over Thanksgiving weekend, I heard about and submit to an anthology project edited by the the uber-talented writer of IDW’s True Blood: All Together Now, Angel, and Illyria: Haunted, editor of The Last Unicorn, Lucifer, and Fables for Vertigo, and fellow Whedonista, Mariah McCourt. You might also know her as one of the editors of the crazy-successful Womanthology: Heroic as well as the follow-up Womanthology: Space. Well, now she’s got a new, female-focused anthology in the works…

AND I’M GOING TO BE IN IT!! 🙂

It’s called MONSTROUS, and it will be a a collection of stories exploring body image through prose, comics, poetry, and art for women and girls. For now, I know that there’ll be a crowd-sourcing campaign for it sometime in January, and that there are already several comics heavy-hitters interested in contributing! I can’t tell you how honored I am to be considered worthy enough to be a part of it.

Now, I’ve never written a comic in my life… (eek!) But in addition to being a part of an awesome project that not only utilizes female talent and speaks to an issue close to my heart (how appropriate that I get to announce my involvement just after my previous blog post!), this is exactly why I’m so excited! I finally get to delve into an art form that I’ve been dying to delve into. I love comics, and now, I get to write one. I’m so excited to be paired with an artist and dive into that relationship. The comic I write will only be about eight pages, but it’s a story I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and one that I’ll be so proud to tell.

EEEEEK!

There’ll be more news on this as time goes on, but for now I’ll just giddily say YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

The Last Acceptable Prejudice

Sasha Trabane in her badass TARDIS dress at Arisia this year! Photo by jere7my (Flicker).

Sasha Trabane in her badass TARDIS dress at Arisia this year! Photo by jere7my (Flicker).

First of all, can we just talk about how AMAZING this TARDIS dress is?! This photo has been making the rounds on BoingBoing, Facebook, and Tumblr, and with good reason. This dress is awesome, and its model/creator, Sasha Trabane, should be SO PROUD. I wish I could make things…

Sadly, it appears no woman can cosplay without some sort of backlash. I saw this composite on my friend Andrea’s FB feed. She got it from Tumblr:

Bullshit indeed!

Bullshit indeed!

Apparently, a woman cosplaying at ALL, no matter what she looks like, is risking some kind of backlash. If she’s thin (and thus, “hot”), she’s criticized for being “fake.” If she’s overweight, she’s criticized for not being “hot” enough. It seems that women in the geek community just can’t win.

This started as a feminist post, and I could go on and on about the double-standards that women face when it comes to appearance.  I could also talk about how hypocritical it is for geeks to tear down other geeks when all we do is complain about how we were torn down in our youths by bullies. But there’s something else I want to talk about.

It’s generally deemed unacceptable to be racist, sexist, or homophobic. Sure, there are plenty of racists, sexists, and homophobes out there, but these days they are more likely to espouse their hateful views in hushed tones, knowing that there might be social repercussions from Society at Large. Religious intolerance runs rampant, from the way Americans see “those people” in the Middle East to the way we fight amongst each other, whether it’s Christians Vs. Other Religions or Believers Vs. Atheists. But again, people that espouse those views know that they’ll have to deal with a powerful backlash. Yet for some reason, it’s totally OK to make fun of fat people. It’s the last acceptable prejudice.

In fact, just yesterday this 82 year old “bioethicist” (is that an actual job?) came out and said that fat-shaming should be used to combat obesity. Like, as a serious medical solution. What’s disturbing is that so many people in the comments at the post I link to agree with him.

Because fat people are fat because they’re lazy. If they would just stop eating so much and exercise more they wouldn’t have this problem. Never mind that overeating can have to do with any number of things, from thyroid conditions, to emotional/psychological issues, to the powerful food industry/lobby providing unhealthy food cheap while driving up prices on food that’s actually good for us. (I’ll never forget the day I saw the list of WIC-accepted food at a supermarket I went to – a person on food stamps can easily purchase potato chips, but not vegetables) According to the World Health Organization:

The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Globally, there has been:

  • an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat, salt and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients; and
  • a decrease in physical activity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.

Changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often the result of environmental and societal changes associated with development and lack of supportive policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing and education.

and

Individual responsibility can only have its full effect where people have access to a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, at the societal level it is important to:

  • support individuals in following the recommendations above, through sustained political commitment and the collaboration of many public and private stakeholders;
  • make regular physical activity and healthier dietary patterns affordable and easily accessible too all – especially the poorest individuals.

The food industry can play a significant role in promoting healthy diets by:

  • reducing the fat, sugar and salt content of processed foods;
  • ensuring that healthy and nutritious choices are available and affordable to all consumers;
  • practicing responsible marketing;
  • ensuring the availability of healthy food choices and supporting regular physical activity practice in the workplace.
McDonald's in South Africa. Photo credit unknown.

McDonald’s in South Africa. Photo credit unknown.

Hear that, everyone? It’s not about this person or that person being “lazy” or having “no will-power” or “self-control.” It’s about high-income and middle-income countries  “improving” our lives so much that we can be sedentary, because we have the technology that allows us all to sit on our asses all day. It’s about those same nations foisting their “energy-dense foods that are high in fat, salt and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients” on other countries in the name of global commerce.

You folks have seen Wall-E, right?

And then there are the people who are going through emotional hardships or suffering from depression who, rather than turning to alcohol or drugs for comfort and escape, turn to food. Yet people who abuse food get treated with less sympathy than do those who abuse drugs. Even in the world of eating disorders, people who starve themselves get treated with more seriousness than those who overeat. Why? Why is it easier to see anorexia as an eating disorder, whereas most people see overeating as a matter of personal responsibility? Why is it so easy to take an anorexic seriously, but laugh at the expense of someone who is overweight? Is it because, at least in the case of someone who is anorexic, they are “closer” to a societal ideal than is a fat person? What kind of messed up thinking is that?

I am technically obese. There has never been a point in my life where I haven’t been overweight. I’ve spent the better part of the past year dealing with my issues with food. I know that I’ve overeaten for many reasons, often right after someone would tell me I eat too much. As a big Fuck You. As an exertion of control. You can’t tell me what I can’t or can’t eat! I’ll do what I want! I’m not going to get into it here (at least not now), but if you know anything about me and the things I’ve accomplished in the course of my life, you’ll know that “laziness” has nothing to do with it. I still have a long way to go, but I’m working on it – being more conscious of not just what I eat, but why. Exercising more. Trying to live a life that’s healthier not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, and valuing myself enough to actually deal with the problems and emotions I used to ignore by eating a pint of ice cream a day. Yeah – I used to do that. I don’t anymore.

The point of this rambly post? 🙂 The next time you feel yourself about to comment on someone’s size, ask yourself why. Why is it that the very sight of someone who is overweight brings out your worst self? What is it about that person that prompts your need to comment? What is there to be gained? Why is it so important to you to vocalize your feelings about someone’s size, a propos of nothing, just because that person has the audacity to exist?

They say that the best way to get what we want is to help others get what they want. Realize that we all have a part to play in each other’s health and well-being, and that we are all best served not by berating each other, but by ensuring that each of us has access to a healthier, happier life.

Al Día Post: “Shakira comes to ‘The Voice,’ but has she lost her own?”

Shakira comes to The Voice in March.

Shakira comes to The Voice in March.

Wow! For the first time ever, something I’ve written for Al Día has been printed in English! Which is great, as I think it might appeal to all Shakira fans, whether they speak Spanish or not! Check out my latest column!

EXCERPT:

I love Shakira. Especially her Spanish-language music. I was thrilled when I heard that she, along with Usher, would be joining The Voice as a judge (http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/09/17/the-voice-usher-shakira/) this year! I’ve loved her since Dónde están los ladrones? I was just starting college when I bought that album, and I was amazed by her lyrics as well as by the fact that a Colombian rock star existed, which I’d never thought to expect. I’ll admit it, growing up Nuyorican I was surprisingly sheltered when it came to Spanish-language culture. I watched novelas, Sabado Gigante, and Cristina with my mom. I knew of Olga Tanon, and Selena, and Thalia…but that was about it. I figured all of Latino culture could be neatly divided into Salsa, Merengue, Mariachi, and Son. And sometimes there was crossover pop music. Sometimes.

And then there was Shakira, who was not only a Latina Alanis Morrisette (I was really into Alanis in high school and college, so this was a good thing), but one-upped her and everyone else I was listening to with her poetic, substantive lyrics. She was not only a rock star, she was smart and had something to say. She was beautiful, but you always felt that she would beat the crap out of you rather than allow you to underestimate her as just another hot, female musician. I loved her, because she is intelligent and singular and brave; because she seemed to want to challenge expectations.

I was listening to the radio the other day (yes, the actual radio. My iPod has that function and I use it. For my feelings about radio, click here) and Shakira’s “Rabiosa” came on. As I listened, it occurred to me  that Shakira’s been man-crazy lately. After all, she’s rabiosa. Sometimes men make her Loca with desire. Her Hips Don’t Lie and do all her talking for her, and when it’s really bad, she turns into a Loba.

I don’t know how I feel about all this.

To read the full article, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

Al Día REDUX: La-la-la-laaaaaa Llorona

Heh. It just occurred to me to think of the title “La Llorona” to the melody of the Knack song. 🙂

Anyway, here is the English version of my original Grimm piece over at Al Día. Enjoy!

Bitsie Tulloch as Juliette Silverton in "La Llorona"

Bitsie Tulloch as Juliette Silverton in “La Llorona”

Grimm Broadens Its Horizons to Latin America and Beyond

If you’re a fan of fairy tales, or police procedurals, you should be watching NBC’s Grimm, a police procedural that incorporates myths and fairy tales. David Giuntoli stars as Portland police detective Nick Burckhardt, a cop who is also a Grimm. In this world, a “Grimm” is someone with the power to see fairy tale creatures when they don’t want to be seen, and he uses this gift to solve some of the more strange cases that come to the precinct. The show seamlessly blends the fairy tale elements with the elements of cop drama, and in its second season is an even stronger show. The ensemble cast is uniformly talented, the stories – generally modern takes on fairy tales – are well-executed, and in its second season Grimm is finally embracing the global feel it hinted at in Season One, in part, because of the diversity of its cast and crew, and the producers wanting to bring those diverse experiences into the show more fully.

Grimm has always layered in elements and fairy tales that go beyond the Germanic stories we’re all used to, incorporating tales from Japanese, Native American, and Greek traditions, among others. In Season Two, not only are the stories being pulled from global sources, but the world of the show is expanding as we learn that the world of Grimms and Wesen (the fairy tale creatures) extends well beyond Portland, Oregon.

Halloween provided a treat for Latino audiences this year when Grimm presented their episode, “La Llorona,” based on the famous Latin American tale of the same name. Nick and Hank investigate the mysterious disappearance of a Mexican boy after his father insists to the police that the boy was led away by a mysterious woman in white. The woman is then responsible for the disappearance of a little girl, and the detectives race to track her down before she takes another child. Nick and Hank are joined by a detective from New Mexico named Valentina Espinosa, played by Mexican actress, Kate del Castillo, who helps them track down the woman, and helps reveal her true nature and the supernatural reason behind the children’s disappearances.

The episode is a welcome respite from the usual both in tone and content. It’s refreshing, for example, that the episode begins with a father and son speaking to each other entirely in Spanish, and there are no subtitles used, forcing the audience (whether Spanish-speaking or not) to immerse themselves, not only in the supernatural world, but in a world (and culture) in which they might not immerse themselves otherwise.

The writers got to immerse themselves as well. Akela Cooper, the writer of “La Llorona,” while she’d vaguely heard of the story, she didn’t really know the legend’s darker details. “I was assigned the Halloween episode which turned out to be the ‘La Llorona’ episode,” she says. “I was vaguely familiar with it. I knew it by the “Woman in White” ghost story, but I didn’t know the backstory of the weeping woman or the part about her drowning children.  It was actually fun to research because it gave me a lot to take from the various versions of the story, but still keep the emotional core intact.”

A scene from "La Llorona"

A scene from “La Llorona”

“La Llorona” was actually created in partnership with Telemundo, and Cooper praises NBC’s efforts toward diversity saying, “NBC is very big on bringing diversity into television both on-screen and behind the cameras, and they’ve worked with various coalitions on how to do that with respect to cultures.  Though I don’t know specifics, I know NBC wanted to do a Latino-themed Grimm episode in Season Two that would be simulcast with Telemundo, and “La Llorona” provided a great Halloween episode so it worked out perfectly.”

“La Llorona” also prominently features Bitsie Tulloch, who plays Nick’s girlfriend, Juliette, and is experiencing a very interesting storyline this season involving magical, selective amnesia and having inexplicable feelings of love for Nick’s boss while not being able to remember Nick at all. Tulloch was able to exercise her fluent Spanish as Juliette assists Nick in his investigation by translating for the family of the missing boy. Juliette’s childhood mirrors Tulloch’s own in that they both grew up in Spain and Latin America.

Tulloch is thrilled that Grimm’s producers bring the actors’ own cultures, languages, and experiences into the stories they tell. “David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf have been remarkably, amazingly generous with the cast,” she explains. “Sasha [Roiz, Grimm’s Captain Renard] for example, speaks Russian, because his parents are Russian, and a little bit of French having grown up in Montreal, and they wrote that into it. It’s one of the things I’m really proud of – that the cast is very ethnically diverse and multilingual. Reggie Lee [Grimm’s Sargent Wu] speaks fluent Tagalog. He’s Filipino. I speak Spanish because I grew up overseas in Spain, Uruguay and Argentina. And so when they decided to do “La Llorona” they thought What a wonderful way to sort of have this episode that’s incorporating the fact that Bitsie can actually speak Spanish and we’re doing what is basically a South American/Central American and Southwestern United States fairytale.”

And yes, Tulloch was familiar with “La Llorona” before tackling it on Grimm, having been told the story by her Spanish mother.

The plan for Grimm is for it to continue to tell stories from all over the world since that is one of the reasons it does so well internationally. In fact, Tulloch reports that Grimm’s producers “mentioned saying to Reggie [Lee], like, can you think of any Filipino or Chinese or other Asian fairytales that you were told as a child? So that might happen down the road.” Meanwhile, Cooper confirms that “we love expanding beyond just the German fairy tales so most definitely in the future we’ll do more fairy tales from other countries.”

And as for a return to Latino characters and stories, there’s the mysterious figure of Pilar, the missing boy’s grandmother, who seems to have insight into magic and Juliette’s condition. Will she return? Cooper says, “Though I cannot make promises, the return of Pilar has come up in discussions. If we can make it work story-wise we’d love to.”

Insightful Latinas solving problems? Stories with an international scope? Hot actors and frightening monsters? Grimm is a show I can get behind. The show is currently on mid-season hiatus, but will return in 2013, giving you some time to catch up. You’ll be glad you did.

Al Día Post: “Llorona, llévame al río”

I realized that I hadn’t posted my second Al Día post, and since we’re going to be suffering a Grimm drought until MARCH (*sigh*), I figured now would be as good a time as any to do that!

Kate del Castillo, Russell Hornsby, and David Giuntoli in the "La Llorona" episode of Grimm

Kate del Castillo, Russell Hornsby, and David Giuntoli in the “La Llorona” episode of Grimm

The piece was about the Halloween episode of Grimm called “La Llorona,” based on the Latin American legend of the same name. I not only discuss the episode, but also the multicultural aspects of Grimm in general, and how the show has increased its global scope between Season 1 and Season 2. It incorporates interviews I did with Bitsie Tulloch, who plays Juliette, and Akela Cooper, the writer of the “La Llorona” episode.

EXTRACTO:

[“Grimm”] combina a perfección elementos de fábula con elementos del drama policial, y en su segunda temporada se ha convertido en un espectáculo poderoso. El elenco es uniformemente talentoso, las historias —en general, relatos modernos basados en cuentos de hadas— están bien realizadas, y en su segunda temporada, “Grimm” está, por fin, abarcando la sensibilidad global que se insinuaba en la primera temporada. Esto es en parte debido a la diversidad del reparto y del equipo de producción, pero también porque los productores quieren resaltar diversas experiencias culturales.

“Grimm” siempre ha usado elementos que no se encuentran en los cuentos de hadas de origen alemán que se acostumbran oir y ver en EE.UU., y el programa ha incorporado el folclor japonés, indígena estadounidense, y griego en sus guiones. En la segunda temporada, no simplemente son las historias que se extienden a fuentes mundiales, sino la trama del relato en sí: Aprendemos que los “Grimms” y “Wesen” (así se llaman las criaturas de leyenda que conviven con los protagonistas del programa) se encuentran en todos lados, no sólo en la ciudad de Portland.

En Halloween de este año el episodio de “Grimm” fue un regalo para el público latino porque se basó en el famoso cuento latinoamericano de “La Llorona”. Nick y su compañero de detectives, Hank, investigan la misteriosa desaparición de un niño mexicano después de que su padre le insiste a la policía que al niño se lo llevó de la orilla del río una misteriosa mujer vestida de blanco. La misma mujer es responsable por la desaparición de una niña, y los detectives se apresuran para seguir su rastro antes de que ella rapte a un tercer menor. Una detective de Nuevo México, Valentina Espinosa, protagonizada por la actriz mexicana Kate del Castillo, se une a la investigación de Nick y Hank y les ayuda a localizar a la mujer, a revelar su verdadera naturaleza mítica y la razón detrás de las desapariciones.

Para leer el examen completo, o a dejar un comentario, haga CLIC AQUÍ.

Also, the piece didn’t only post on the web. It was also included in the La Cultura section of the print edition of Al Día dated Nov 25-Dec 1st, where it looks rather more awesome! 🙂 Check it out below! And keep your eyes peeled for the English version of the article coming up as an Al Día REDUX post!

Grimm La Llorona article – Nov 25-Dec 1

Grimm La Llorona article pg 2 – Nov 25-Dec 1

The Twelve Posts of Christmas, er, New Year’s #2: “She’s Just Smart and Has No One to Talk To”

You’d talk to me, WOULDN’T YOU?!

Yeah, yeah. It’s a bit late for these. But I was sick through Christmas and, well, busy with awesome people who are more important than this blog through New Year’s. 🙂 So there. But far be it for me to deprive you of stupid stories from my childhood! And so, my Twelve Posts will continue.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

I wasn’t exactly a quiet child.

I know. You are totally shocked. Try to contain yourselves.

While I’m not an only child, I was the only child growing up in my parents’ house. My older siblings were already into their twenties when I was in elementary school, and they were off earning Master’s Degrees, going out on dates, and generally leading grown-up lives. My parents, while wonderful to me, also each worked, and between that and keeping the house in order (or socializing elsewhere, in my father’s case. He was definitely the Social Butterfly of the two), I was often left to my own devices. Not that I minded. I had a glorious imagination, and could often be found on the couch, pretending it was a boat going down a river (after an African Queen-inspired episode of Muppet Babies); or outside making piles of leaves I’ve picked off plants, because I was on a deserted island and had to forage for sustenance. I was a solitary kid, as I first grew up in Queens, which meant that traveling around the neighborhood on my own was out of the question. Since I relied on my parents or older siblings to take me to visit friends, and they were all often so busy, I spent a lot of time playing on my lonesome. So much so that, even when I was playing with friends – and I did have friends – I often had a whole other game going on in my head that I was playing by myself.

Hell, I still do that.

There are two responses to being a solitary kid growing up. Some people become very quiet. I guess they get so used to turning inward for company they stop looking for it elsewhere.

Me as The Tooth Fairy one Halloween. Yup, that’s a toothbrush wand.

And then, there are kids like me. Kids whose brains are so filled to the brim with ideas and feelings and imaginings that they might burst. They need an outlet – desperately – and so whenever they’re around other people, they’re constantly making noise to make their feelings known.

For example, I got “in trouble” my first five minutes into kindergarten. Ask me why.

It was my First Day of Real School. I’d gone to nursery school, but this was different. This was school. Like, in a real building. A building with fifth graders in it. A school so big that my kindergarten class had to be escorted up several flights of stairs in two lines from where we’d lined up in the schoolyard to our classroom. When we entered my classroom, I was amazed. It seemed huge! An entire wall just for our coats! We each got a cubby! Each of our desks opened up so we could put our stuff in them, too! Toys and games everywhere! And how did I express my amazement? I whistled. That whistle that pitches up and slides down in a way that says, Whoa. This room is friggin’ huge! Apparently, it was loud. I thought it’d be drowned out in the low murmur of all the other kids having similar reactions, but nope. My teacher (whose name I forget – I remember my nursery school teachers, and all my teachers from 1st grade on…but for some reason, my kindergarten teacher’s name escapes me) looked right at me, shushed me, and said, “Excuse me! We’re quiet in school.”

Um…you’re quiet in school, Lady.

In kindergarten or 1st Grade – I don’t remember exactly when, but I was young enough to sit in a circle for Story Time – I was, well, sitting in a circle for Story Time. Now, I loved Story Time, because I loved stories. I loved listening to them, and I’d started to enjoy making them up. So this particular story must not have been interesting, because while it was going on, I became obsessed with the velcro on my sneakers.

Ffffrrrrip! *press closed* Fffffrrrrip! *press closed*

My friend, Cynthia, was sitting next to me and was very amused by my velcro-plying. She, too, had velcro closures on her sneakers – hey, we knew how to tie our shoes by then, OK? We just had better things to do! – and she started fffffrrrrip-ing right along with me. Then, she randomly asked me how that Madonna song goes. You know, the one about material? And I totally knew, because I had a big sister and a big brother who kept me in the know. So I started singing it. We are living, in a material world, and I am a material girl…YOU KNOW that we are living, in a material world…

“TERESA! BE QUIET!”

I looked up, and my teacher was not happy, which scared the crap out of me, because I was totally the teacher’s favorite. Or, one of them, anyway. I was a gifted student and I never misbehaved. I just couldn’t shut the hell up. Though, to be fair, that time was totally Cynthia’s fault. She talked to me. What was I supposed to do? Not show her how much I knew about Madonna songs? Please.

Me giving my nursery school VALEDICTORY speech, because I was a super-genius. 🙂

My mother was called into school to speak to my teacher once when I was in elementary school, which was weird, because as I said – I never misbehaved. I was the kind of kid teachers liked, and so my parents never saw my teachers except during Parent-Teacher Conferences once a year where my teachers fawned all over my adorable, brilliant little head. Anyway, when my mom asked what the problem was, the teacher apparently started by telling her how much she liked me, how smart I was, what a good girl I was, and how I was such a great student. Then, she dropped her complaint. “But your daughter just won’t stop talking. It’s non-stop. She talks to the other kids, and it’s very distracting.” My mom apparently told her, “I’ll tell her. I know she has to stop. But she does that because she gets so excited. She doesn’t have children her age at home, so she comes to school and wants to talk to everyone. She’s just really smart and has no one to talk to.”

My mother told me this when she got home, and I thought it interesting, even then, that she told me the entirety of her explanation. She didn’t just come home to reprimand me and say “You have to learn not to talk so much in school.” She told me that she told my teacher that she understood why I talked so much. My mom wasn’t giving me permission, exactly, but she was also letting me know that there has to be a balance. That rules aren’t meant to be followed blindly. That sometimes, the people who make the rules need to understand that there have to be exceptions. She was also letting me know that she saw my talkative nature as a bit of a positive; a sign that I had so much creativity and intelligence floating around in my head that I couldn’t help but let it out.

Yes, I know that there are plenty of people who talk incessantly who aren’t brilliant and creative. 🙂 But I like that my mom thought the best of me. I like to think that maybe what she thought about me is true.

Blessings In Disguise

Celebrating my first paycheck as a professional writer for Tor.com. January 2010

Celebrating my first paycheck as a professional writer for Tor.com. January 2010

So remember that bit in my Year In Review post where I said I was still a writer for Tor.com?

Yeah, not so much.

I was let go a couple of days ago, just after I was let go from GirlGamer on New Year’s Day. It’s not been a good week for me, writing-wise.

And while it sucks, I know that a majority chunk of why I was let go was my fault.

For GirlGamer, there were a couple of times when I didn’t get them their promised reviews on time. For Tor.com, it was a mix of not getting them things on time, and not having pitches/articles I did submit approved, because I’d somehow gotten out of step with what they wanted. For the past couple of months, I’d admittedly become ambivalent about submitting things. I could pretend that this was a huge horrible thing that was done to me, but the fact is that I, consciously or unconsciously, did this to myself.

For a while now, I’ve been telling friends that I’ve gotten a bit burnt-out on writing about geeky things. Yes, I love sci-fi and fantasy and comics…but I love other things, too. And I’ve been writing about geeky things online since 2007. That’s five years of writing about geek pop culture. For the past couple of months, I’ve been having trouble maintaining enthusiasm about that; trouble with coming up with new and interesting ways to talk about the same things. And my editors at these sites suffered the effects, and I’m really sorry about that. Because I know I can do better, and they deserved better from me.

What’s funny is that I’ve been saying that I didn’t want to do geek writing anymore for a while now…so, both these gigs letting me go at the same time was kinda like the Universe saying Oh, you don’t want this anymore? Fine. *yoink* You don’t have it anymore. Do something else.

Thanks, Universe. I GET it. GEEZ! 🙂 Trying to see these two incidents as blessings in disguise; answers to a prayer I didn’t even realize I was making except in hindsight.

There’s been a lot that’s happened lately that’s slapped me in the face and forced me to reexamine what I want, how I accomplish things, and the way I plan. I feel like 2013 is gonna be the year where Life takes off the kid gloves, and I’m gonna have to be ready to deal with it. I will be ready to deal with it. This weekend, among other things, I’ll be preparing a list of outlets to which I want to submit work – diverse ones that appeal to all my interests, not just the geeky ones. I’ll be writing pieces for Al Dia and NerdSpan (By the way, did I tell you I was just taken on by NerdSpan as a book reviewer? Well, now you know!), sites that, while I’ll still be writing about arts and culture, I’ll be able to broaden my scope in that arena. I love that I have the chance to more closely examine Latino contributions to culture, and I love that I now have the chance to write about books – some of them sci-fi/fantasy/graphic novels, yes, but also contemporary literary fiction and non-fiction.

This week or next, I plan on meeting with a writer friend of mine whose hustle and tenacity in freelance writing I hugely respect, to pick her brain about what I can do to refocus my energies and pursue the kind of writing I want to be doing. I also hope to incorporate some of the writing I did for Tor and GirlGamer into this blog – so if you really enjoyed my Doctor Who stuff or my comics reviews, you just might start seeing them pop up here once in a while.

And this month, I’m getting back to my fiction, which is what I really want to be doing in the first place. My specs, pilot, and prose fiction have been ignored for way too long. I have writing fellowships for which to prepare and a fictional voice that’s been stagnating in the shadow of my online non-fiction voice.

And I want to state for the record that I will always be grateful to Tor.com for being the first outlet ever to pay me for my words. It meant so much to me in 2010, and it means so much to me today. The staff there is amazing, and I feel privileged to have worked with them. I’m also grateful to GirlGamer for giving me the opportunity to write about comics again when I’d been missing it, having weaned myself off of comics reviewing in favor of writing about television and web content. HB, you’re an awesome editor. And thanks to Cricket for hooking a sistah up.

Writing Career, 2013 is when I start kicking you in the face. Be warned.

Looking Back On 2012, Looking Forward to 2013

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First of all,  JANUARY 1ST, 2013 marked the THIRD BLOGGIVERSARY of the Teresa Jusino Experience. It came and went with little fanfare, as I spent my New Year’s Day enjoying the company of friends hosting an all-day New Year’s Day Brunch-a-thon with my roommate. Still, it’s kind of cool to see how this blog has grown in three years. Here’s hoping the upward trajectory continues!

I’ve been doing a Year In Review post since 2004 (you can stalk keep up with Teresa History by checking out 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.)

This year, I’m keeping it short and sweet for reasons I’ll make clear later in the post.

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WRITING LIFE:

  • I’m still a writer at Tor.com and PopMatters.
  • I gained a new outlet by being taken on by Al Dia, a Spanish-language newspaper based out of Philly. Expect more from me at Al Dia Cafe in the coming year. (You can check out the pieces I’ve already written HERE.)
  • I gained another job when I started writing about comics for GirlGamer.com, but found out on New Year’s Day that they can no longer use my services. Bummer, but them’s the breaks. Still, you can check out what I’ve already written for them HERE.
  • I’m still a writer on RETCON, and have been helping to produce the pilot. We had an IndieGoGo campaign this year, where we raised enough money to shoot the pilot, which is happening this month! Very excited about that, and about the possibilities for the show after the pilot’s done. I’m very much looking forward to writing episodes for the actual season!
  • Tumultuous, but ultimately successful trip to GeekGirlCon 2012 in Seattle. Tumultuous in the getting there and getting back (I’d rather not rehash that story, but it involves being stranded in Oregon). Successful in that my panel on “Moffat’s Women” in Doctor Who was filled to capacity and I got so many compliments from strangers on it afterward. Thanks to Miley Yamamoto, Alan Kistler, and Natalie Reed for being such amazing panelists!
  • I was published in two Doctor Who-related anthologies: Chicks Unravel Time (Mad Norwegian Press) and Outside In (ATB Publishing). Very proud of the pieces I wrote (both about Classic Who), and loved the editors I got to work with. Both books are on sale now!
  • Started a Grimm spec, and started talking to a friend about a possible pilot we’ll be writing together, but my tumultuous living situation this year made it difficult to focus on writing that didn’t pay me, so my TV stuff was sadly very much on the back burner for much of the year.

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PERSONAL LIFE:

  • I’ve actually been dating this year! Fancy that. What’s more, I’m seeing someone now. And for the first time in the ever-ever, I had a date on New Year’s Eve. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the Mayans really were right about the end of the world. Or, at least about pigs flying or snowballs in Hell.
  • I’ve met even more wonderful people in my new city. I constantly marvel at the caliber of my friends, both old and new.
  • 6-year anniversary of my mother’s passing.
  • Visited New York over the summer for the first time since moving to L.A. Had an amazing time with friends (and pulled off an epic birthday surprise on my bestie!), but also confirmed that moving to L.A. was a good decision. At least for right now. I still get really nostalgic and homesick for New York and the people in it, but I know that moving here was the right thing. Shout-out to Matt for flying me out there! Would never have been able to visit home otherwise last year.
  • Celebrated my 33rd birthday in San Diego attending my first SDCC. The cast of Grimm – Sasha, Bitsie, and Reggie in particular – totally made my SDCC experience!
  • Had a tumultuous year financially and with regard to my living situation. After a little over a year spent couch-surfing or staying in people’s spare rooms (or that one time where I THOUGHT I had a permanent apartment, only to have it pulled out from under me four days in), I finally got a permanent apartment with a friend in October. We signed a two-year lease, so for better or worse, I’m living in Hollywood for a while! It’s nice to have a permanent address…and now, to work out my finances.
  • Got a new day job through a good friend. It’s the most flexible job I could’ve asked for to make rent when writing doesn’t. Great environment and I’m working with really good people. Also, it often involves going to events and getting free food, which is a plus! 😉
  • After a year of working for the best jefa ever, Chastity and I both decided that it’d be best if I leave my assistant position with her. Eh, I’m happier to have her as my friend rather than my boss anyway. 🙂
  • Devoted ALL of October to the Obama campaign in this year’s Presidential Election. You’re welcome, Mr. President.
  • As for The Fray Project, I focused less on that than I might have liked. Though, I have lost weight this year, and I have shifted my thinking and the way I do things, it was more gradual and less structured, which overall might be a good thing. It means things are actually sticking.
  • Had a great Thanksgiving week in Denver hosted and attended by wonderful and inspiring friends. Shout-out to Cathy and Matt for flying me there for the holiday, and shout-out to Angela, Heather, Lauren, and Joel for being awesome!
  • Became Molly Bloom in December. Said yes.
  • Was sick through Christmas, but had a wonderful and relaxing end of the year. Except for that rough patch at the end there. But for the most part, yes. Relaxing. And wonderful.

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And that’s that. My report on the year. And I’m keeping it simple for a reason…

Something that’s been hit home to me a lot this year is that I have a tendency towards huge gestures. Like The Fray Project on my blog, for example – pretending that I “need” to talk about things publicly to give myself motivation. The truth is, all of my Big Plans are just me procrastinating. Procrastinating….and a little bit me getting scared of what might happen whether I succeed or fail. I know “aspiring,” but I don’t know getting there. I feel like a part of me focuses on the big pronouncements of plans for things, rather than on the actual getting to the hard work, because I’m afraid of seeing things through. Why? I don’t know, but I don’t want to be afraid of that. I want to see what happens! So, this year is gonna be a lot of me keeping my head down and just doing the fucking work. I can make big pronouncements when I have something to announce, and I shouldn’t worry so much that people will forget me or about what they’ll think of me if I’m “too quiet” about what I’m doing. This year, I want to talk about what I’ve DONE rather than what I WILL do.

And standing here at the beginning of 2013, after a year of being scattered in the wind, I finally feel grounded enough to do just that.

Here’s hoping that all of you reading this find whatever you wish for yourself this year. Happy 2013 everyone!

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