Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Make a move and make it now

I will be 25 in three days and I have no idea what to do with that information.

I’m in the weirdest place in my adult life so far and it all feels very messy and also vaguely anticipatory. It’s...a lot. So, as usual, I’ve been distracting myself from impending panic about not having done much with stuff other people have made!

A rundown of recent loves:
  • I finished American Gods, which ended up having a killer plot twist I didn’t see coming. Now I’m reading Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman. I’ve long had a thing~ for books that tap into the darkness swirling around inside teenage girls — be they entitled rich girls (The Cliche, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars series), dark-minded cheerleaders (Megan Abbott’s Dare Me) or gaslighted cult members (Emma Cline's The Girls).  Teen girls are powerful — and as a lifelong lover of good villains, I like when they’re a little wicked too. So far, Girls on Fire is delivering. 
    • Need a laugh? Watch/rewatch Drunk History's "A Sound in Space" with Jenny Slate:
    • Speaking of laughs, if you can catch it somewhere, I highly recommend checking out CNN’s docuseries, The History of Comedy. It’s long, but wildly educational. You’ll cry from laughing more than once and the powerful sixth episode, "Spark of Madness," will also make you cry real tears if you love Robin Williams as much as I do.
    • Since I finished that series, I’ve been watching a lot of stand-up specials. Most recent winner: Marc Maron’s Too Real. If you liked Maron’s character on GLOW (side bar: please watch GLOW), you’ll love it and if you didn’t, you’ll probably still laugh the whole way through. His impression of Mick Jagger is perfect enough to make a grown man cry.
    • Are you watching You’re the Worst? You should really be watching You’re the Worst. Season four premieres tonight!  
    • On a heavier note, I’ve really been struggling lately with figuring out what exactly I want to do with myself. Inspiration is pretty thin on the ground, but I have recently seen two (very different) things that really struck me. The first was wiissa's Midnight Ramblers, a mockumentary about the groupies that shaped ‘70s rock. It’s basically a 15-minute Almost Famous, but about the Band-Aids, so obviously I’m totally in love:

    • The second was President Bartlett’s "American Heroes" speech from The West Wing episode "20 Hours in America, Part II." This speech probably would have hit me hard on any day since November 8...but right now, as my fellow Texans struggle in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and many others await the assured devastation of Hurricane Irma, it really resonates:

    That episode originally aired in September of 2002. Fifteen years later, the message is strong as ever: This is a time for American heroes.

    Wednesday, July 19, 2017

    Crazy little thing called love

    The job hunt is officially underway. It's mildly terrifying and, to be honest, a bit disheartening -- but I've applied to three jobs so far, so fingers crossed!

    Since my last post, I returned to Austin for the most Austin reason ever: to see my friend's band play. It was a super fun, quick trip and I was glad to see my pals and get to indulge in some of my favorite things -- like Pinthouse Pizza and BookPeople.

    Also, Maggie took this picture outside the Boys Club show and it's one of my favorite pictures of me ever taken. It perfectly sums up how I feel when in Austin.

    This past weekend, I was able to make a trip to DFW to see my wonderful cousin Shelbie get married! Me and my sister and Shelbie and her sister have always been a unit in our family because everyone is either older or younger than we are by 5+ years. So, it was awesome to be able to attend her special day. Shelbie looked stunning and she and Mitchell (who I graduated high school with #SmallTownVibes) are the absolute cutest. The whole wedding was so full of love and happiness, I left feeling a little bit better about the world in general.

    Meanwhile, lately:

    • I've been reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It's complex, but the concept is fascinating and I'm really enjoying it. So far, my favorite bit has been Wednesday's musings about roadside attractions being places of power in America. 
    • I've been binge-watching The West Wing and Bob's Burgers. I'm also pretty into Freeform's new show, The Bold Type. It's a little cheesy at times (Miranda Priestly is a much more believable fashion mag editor than Jacqueline Carlyle), but overall, it's super enjoyable. Fresh, fun and feminist -- what more do you need? 
    • If you haven't watched Hasan Minaj: Homecoming King on Netflix, I highly recommend it! If you're like me, you'll find yourself laughing out loud and tearing up in equal measure. I also recommend seeing Baby Driver while it's still in theaters. The sound editing alone makes it a must-watch.
    • Finally, it's late, but here's June's Spotify playlist! It's a lot of tracks from Melodrama (Lorde really came through) and some throwback Cassie Steele. So far in July, I've pretty much had Selena Gomez's "Bad Liar" and Kesha's new songs, "Praying'" and "Woman," on repeat. Anyone else so proud of her they could cry?
    Stay cool, y'all! Figuratively and literally.

    Monday, June 26, 2017

    “Three little stars on the corners of pages and the bases of hearts”

    It has always been very difficult for me to put into words how much I love Harry Potter.

    In 2001, when I was in third grade, a movie about a boy wizard was about to come out and my friend Megan and a bunch of other kids were really excited for it. They had been reading the books and were part of the big whispers surrounding my life — about some story from across the pond that was changing the world.

    I thought there was no way these books were good as everyone said they were. As snarky a child as I am an adult, I was sure I was right about this and everyone else — in the world — was wrong. Then I found out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was worth a whopping 13 Accelerated Reader points and I decided I’d give it a shot anyway. I was nine.

    The rest, as they say, was history.

    It is in no way an exaggeration to say that I am the person I am because of Harry Potter.

    It was the first book series I ever read every book of. Hermione Granger was the first character I saw myself in. The first line of Goblet of Fire was the first quote I memorized on purpose. Some of the first things I ever wrote in my life, before I even decided to be a writer, were pieces of Harry Potter fanfiction.

    My first midnight book release was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It resulted in a caricature that’s on the wall at my mom’s house, of 11-year-old Gryffindor me, transfiguring a dog into a bowl. Silly, really — today I am a Slytherin whose favorite lesson would be Charms.

    The first midnight movie showing I attended was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. It was a high school graduation present from my best friend’s older sister and I cried almost the whole way through it. I was 18.

    Three years later, when I was still 20, I got three little stars tattooed forever on the inside of my right ankle.

    Last summer, I attended the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, dressed as a female Sirius Black, and I cried while we counted down to midnight.

    I’m 24 and when I re-read Harry Potter, I feel every age I’ve been before now because Harry Potter has been the most important thing to me for almost my entire life.

    Everything I believe in and fight for can, in some way, be tied back to this series. My fierce attitudes about feminism and bigotry and how important it is to care about things and fight for things and never let the bad guy win all stem from Harry Potter.

    When J.K. Rowling wrote a book about a boy wizard 20 years ago, she didn’t know the impact it would have on the entire world. There was no way she could guess the impact it would have on me.

    I am who I am because of Harry Potter. I can’t imagine being anyone else.

    NOTE: The title of this blog is taken from this poem, which you should read.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Now that we're dead, my dear -- we can live forever

    I am now a person who has seen Metallica perform live, which is low-key something I've been preparing for my entire life.

    Metallica, in its many variations, has been an enduring presence throughout my life. Whether I was falling asleep in the middle of the living room floor during a house party while they blared through the speakers (#truestory), using my knowledge of their history to impress boys who would not be impressed or bashing them while still loving them because they bashed other bands I liked more, it's been a long, brutal journey for us. This is true for most of their fans.

    Through it all though, I've known I'd see them live eventually and all of the mixed feelings would fade away entirely, giving way to raw devotion.

    And I was right.

    Last Friday, I took off work and my dad and I drove to DFW. After pitstops at Torchy's Tacos (obviously) and my cousin's house, where we stayed for the weekend, we headed out to AT&T Stadium in Arlington -- the gargantuan stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play.

    I had never seen a show in a venue this large. Sure, nothing is bigger than an outdoor festival like ACL (which I have attended twice) -- but this was 60,000 people inside a building. It's truly unbelievable to me that this stadium exists just for people to play football in, but I digress -- though I was definitely living for every surface that normally says "Cowboys" saying "Metallica."

    At 5, a band called Local H (who were not local, but in fact from Chicago) played. After that, someone decided it was a good idea to have a DJ come out and occupy the crowd. It's unclear who made this decision or why -- but it was kind-of entertaining, if only in a "why are you here, sir?" way.

    At 7, Avenged Sevenfold took the stage. They're a band I've always casually liked in that I don't own any of their music, but if their songs come on the radio, I leave them on. They had some unfortunate microphone/acoustic issues (possibly because the stadium is so large and wasn't anywhere near the capacity it would reach later), but they were good. M Shadows has a powerful voice and the dual-guitar style of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance is tight and impressive. (Plus, good call, high school Britny: Synyster Gates is still pretty cute.)

    Shockingly, after A7X, someone once again thought a DJ was a good idea! This one had more cred -- he is the "turntablist" for the Beastie Boys -- but was still...a DJ. I spent most of his "set" taking selfies and saying he should play "Cowboys From Hell" to get the crowd fired up (Pantera are from Dallas). Eventually, he did.

    At around 9, reality set in. I was about to see METALLICA. Not on 20-year-old VHS tapes, not on YouTube videos -- in real life. When the lights went down and "Ecstasy of Gold" started playing out of the speakers, as a clip from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly played on the giant screens, I was vibrating.

    The set was non-stop. My heart was racing, my ears were ringing, my face hurt from smiling so hard. I couldn't stop moving the whole time (SERIOUSLY, how do people watch shows standing still? I have never understood this.) It was everything I wanted and more.

    Later, I was reflecting on the experience -- as music nerds do -- and I realized at this show, I was at the happiest and calmest I've been in a long time. Isn't that strange? Surrounded by snarling, thrashing, screaming people, I felt right with the world. Music is weird and wonderful.

    Post-cathartic concert experience, the rest of my weekend continued in good spirits. Saturday, we went to Forever Young -- one of my favorite record stores -- where I picked up a Metallica concert DVD I'd never seen before, coincidentally filmed in Fort Worth. Then we walked around Sundance Square, where we stopped for a drink at long-time fave The Flying Saucer (Finnriver Sparkling Black Currant Cider is delicious, by the way) and got sweets at Nestle Tollhouse/Red Mango. My wild Saturday night was spent watching the new Orphan Black episode (WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THERE) and '90s music videos on MTV Classic.

    Hope y'all had a good weekend as well, and that this week is treating you well so far! I'm making it through with Austin at the finish line on Friday.

    Friday, June 9, 2017

    Low-key, no pressure -- just hang with me and my weather

    I kept a pretty low profile through April and May, even going on an Actual Vacation to the Texas coast, which was lovely and much-needed. But I'm looking forward to the busy rest of June!

    Next weekend, I'm off to DFW to see Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold with my dad. I've never seen either band, so that's super exciting. Then the following weekend, I'm heading down to Austin to watch Boys Club play, hang out with my friends and probably eat too much. It's going to be great.

    Moving on, lately:

    • During my vacation, I finally decided to give up on Armada and instead tore through The Circle -- which is very good, if you haven't read it. Since then, I've been making my way through the very on-brand My Best Friend's Exorcism. It's taking me a bit (as usual) but I'm liking it.
    • As always, I'm watching a million and a half TV shows, but most recently I've been bingeing Sex and the City, which I've never watched unedited (I know). I also recently finished Bones and am all caught up on Better Call Saul. Can't wait to devour Orange is the New Black season five and be reunited with my favorite sestras in the season premiere of Orphan Black!
    • Some films I've seen recently that I enjoyed: 10 Cloverfield Lane (the first one is good, this one is better); Logan (they really did that, huh?); Wonder Woman (AHHHH); and 20th Century Women (a good, quiet film that would have been a little better if Greta Gerwig's character were LGBTQ. I have a lot of thoughts about this).
    • Finally, here's May's Spotify playlist! It's almost exclusively Harry Styles and Paramore because duh.
    I'm sure I'll probably do a recap post of all the fun I've got coming up -- maybe if I say I'll do it, I actually will? Stay tuned!

    Saturday, April 8, 2017

    Lovin' you ain't easy, but I'm not gonna leave you

    Say it with me, y'all: Two. Weeks. Until. Vacation.

    I don't take proper vacations very often -- usually just weekend trips to Austin or something like that. But my family and I are headed to the Texas Coast later this month, and I am stoked about the idea of genuinely doing nothing, but in a new location. I can't wait to not check my email once for an entire week and only look at social media when I'm posting pictures of my various obnoxious drinks and ocean sunsets.

    It does, unfortunately, mean I need to go bathing suit shopping very soon, so good vibes are appreciated.

    Anyway, lately:

    • Last weekend, I went to a Texas country festival called Outlaws & Legends, which was a fun deviation from the norm. I always enjoy live music, and "Texas country" is truly a genre all its own that, for the most part, celebrates the admirable qualities of country music and leaves behind the less-than-honorable stuff. I danced, drank too much and got a sunburn -- so overall, I checked most of the festival requirement boxes.
    • Since I last posted, I finally saw Get Out which honestly, at this point, I shouldn't even have to tell you to see. It was phenomenal. Don't miss it -- and if you still can, catch it in a theater.
    • Still reading Armada. I don't dislike it, but I'm definitely enjoying it less than I was, and I'm having a tough time making myself read it. Time will tell if I actually knock it out before vacation begins, when I've got a whole stack of other things I'm looking forward to reading. (The rundown: The Circle, My Best Friend's Exorcism, Girls on Fire; maybe Brat Pack America, if I tear through the rest).
    • Just finished watching Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. It is brutal, but well-handled. It's a meditation on sexism and misogyny, loneliness and complacency. Watch it if you're already considering doing so, but know it won't be easy. 
    • Here's March's Spotify playlist! You'll find Computer Games, Hayley Kiyoko and You Me at Six heavily featured.

    Keep on keepin' on through April!