Every Story Demands its Pound of Flesh

IMG_0327 (1)A night spent drunk, sucking down whiskey and ginger ales like water in a hipster dive bar in Allston. There’s a doll that looks like the bride of Chucky perched above the door and a skull oozing red fumes painted on the wall. The right bartender will give you Jim Beam. The wrong one will give you some crap called LTD that tastes like someone dripped whiskey into melted butter. It’s not good, but it’s easy not to care, when it’s your third drink.

There’s nothing quite like watching a room full of hipsters – tattoos and beards, striped hair and dark, ripped clothing, plaid and safety pins and sharp edges – rocking their shit out to Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. It takes you a while to join in, but you do. You can’t mock when you’re also knocking around the room, running into your friends, sloshing your drink, dipping your ass like you have any idea what its like to be sinuous or graceful.

News flash: you never have. But its easy not to care when its your third drink.

A long wait on a cold sidewalk. An Uber and a girl who seems desperately, uncomfortably drunk, who throws her phone onto the street on her way out of the car. Pizza and breadsticks when all you really want to do is fall asleep.

A slow morning. A slow day. A new wallet. You want to burn this presentation of yourself to the ground, but you can’t because you’re still attached to it by the soft skin behind your ears, behind your knees. Target’s selection is shit anyway. You fight yourself – wanting to know what your shoes tell the world about you, knowing they can never make someone know you in your sensitive places, your dark places, your burning hot and frozen places.

A cold night spent shaking out of your skin because too good stories are rattling around in your brain, are making their bitten edges known. Every story demands its pound of flesh. You’re afraid that you’re too scared, too safe, too smart to find out if you can stand to feel like this for more than an hour at a time.

Will you sleep tonight? Even typing the question feels like tempting fate, courting disaster. Feels like nothing. Have the words exorcised the demon in you? Are you inoculated?

Will you sleep tonight?

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Happy Anniversary!

The renovated clock tower at the Hoboken Terminal that was completed with the addition of a steeple yesterday, Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Photo taken Thursday, April 3, 2008. -- REENA ROSE SIBAYAN / THE JERSEY JOURNAL

Hipster, frat boy, yoga, smurfs. It’s the Hoboken way! 

So while everyone forgot to tell Sara she didn’t do a blog post last week (yes we’re still angry) they also forgot to acknowledge that I have officially been living in Hoboken for one full year. CRAZY!! Let’s revisit this past year in gross detail shall we?

I moved on September 18th, 2014. The air was crisp because it was freaking early. Actually I’m lying it was like 9:30am…ANYWAYS fast forward 5(ish) hours and I arrive in Hoboken, greeted my new roommates, and began to put my room together. Soon enough, my parents left and I was on my own. I think at the time I wanted it to feel really exhilarating and inspiring. And it did eventually. But in that moment I felt like a kid at summer camp, but summer is like the summer of Westeros and not nearly as filled with such hot men.

I just had to catch myself writing “Back then I was a child of god and today…not so much. I know it really wasn’t that long ago, but it honestly feels lightyears away. Back then I was wide-eyed, I was curious, I was desperate but also determined. I wanted something…but I wasn’t sure what that was and decided a job would suffice. And I’m not actually going to make you guys relive this past year in gross detail. Even I don’t want to do that. But I am fascinated by the improvement I’ve made this year.

This became particularly apparent to me last night; I was cleaning off my desktop of old cover letters and writing samples by moving them into an untitled folder that’s already filled with even older documents. For nostalgias sake I scrolled through its entire contents (because honestly I had forgotten about some of the positions I had applied for) and happened upon the cover letter I submitted for the job I currently have.

To explain: I actually applied for the position I currently have, three months ago. The company ultimately decided to hire from within but kept my application on file, so when another position became available I was still in their system, ready and waiting to be chosen. However, because I didn’t hear anything back from their office I assumed I wasn’t in their pool of applicants and didn’t give it another thought. Fast-forward to yesterday, I stumbled on the application that got me my job and my new found security but then discovered that my application was TERRIBLE. I am absolutely MORTIFIED by that cover letter and resume.

Reader, I almost cried. I was stunned that I had previously allowed such choppy language and typos go to potential employers. It perplexed me to the point that I went and opened even older cover letters. And if there’s anything I learned from that rabbit hole, it’s that it is amazing how much one can improve not just in a year, but in three months. This past year has been one of my hardest, but it’s also been one of the most fun. I feel like I earned that.

I’m starting to realize that the only person I really needed to prove myself to, was ironically myself. I guess I needed to know that I could hack it alone if I ever needed to. Which is silly because I didn’t hack it alone. I had more help and support than a girl like me deserves. So many of you made me possible. So I guess this is me trying to thank you.

My friend Annie said to me during lunch today that we survived our first year. We did.

Blogged while watching Star Trek: Into Darkness  

Spock-and-Kirk-Into-Drkness
When my mom and her friend Cherri saw the USS Enterprise for the first time in the new Star Wars movie they cried a little bit.

Not having the same emotional attachment to the franchise yet, I did not cry, but I did thoroughly enjoy the new movie. And when Into Darkness premiered, and I saw the end I spent the last twenty minutes hitting Taekia in overwrought excitement. Any of you who have seen the original Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, and have an appropriate appreciation for the thematic possibilities of Alternate Universes and reboots, will understand why. *

I have to say, in deference to honesty, there isn’t a lot about Star Trek that keeps me up at night. Its mostly just fun. I think there are some interesting things in it about exploration and scientific inquiry and some cool investigation into our responsibilities in space. But so far, it has merely entertained me. Unless you count reading fanfic way late into the night. Because I’ve definitely done that.

It also has a lot of my favorite tropes: team-as-family, geniuses running around breaking the rules to save the world, strong relationships between boys.

The last one is a little weird, I’ll admit. But I am a huge fan of the bromance. I love strong female characters. I think the relationships between women are hugely important in artistic representation. The Bechdel Test is only the very beginning of what we need to see from movies in terms of the way women are portrayed.

But my heart of hearts, my guiltiest of pleasures are found in watching boys who love each other, however they love each other. Brian and Dom in the Fast and the Furious; Arthur and Merlin in Merlin; Tony Stark and Steve Rogers in ALL THE THINGS; Sam and Dean Winchester (bonus points for actually being brothers) in Supernatural: Kirk and Spock in Star Trek.

I don’t necessarily ship these boys, although I think it’s an interesting idea to play around with, and I love fanfic when some of them are in relationships. But their love for each other is the anchor for all of these stories, which are some of my favorites in the world. Maybe it’s because we teach boys not to emote, or because the relationship between boys is a private world to which I have no access and no experience. It’s probably some combination thereof. And while Star Trek doesn’t keep me up that much, bromances are very often at the heart of the stories that do, including at least two of my own.

Also I want to join Star Fleet more than probably any other fictional organization or learning environment ever. Yes, possibly even more than Hogwarts. I get the feeling the adventures of Harry and co are more of an aberration. Which is probably good, since Hogwarts is full of small children. Star Fleet seems like it would yield a more reasonable yet varying selection of escapades.

Conclusions? You wanted conclusions? Spock and Kirk are definitely in love. It might be platonic. It might be romantic. But it is definitely, absolutely 100% love. And I want to travel around on a really comfortable, adventurous spaceship.

*People have very legitimate concerns with Into Darkness, some of which I totally agree with. But this isn’t that post. This is an ode. A very weird ode.

Music to my ears, or brain rather…

Having a song stuck in your head while you’re trying to go to sleep is an interesting experience. You’re brain is trying to turn itself off while also trying to remember all the words to Don McLean’s American Pie. It’s super annoying but also becomes a point of pride because you gotta remember those lyrics and more than once I have grabbed my phone in the dark to quickly look up a next verse to whatever song so I can finally rest in peace.

But having a song stuck in your head can also be surprisingly enjoyable, especially if it’s a song you like. There are some lyrics that just sink under your skin and move you. Pair that with some pretty sick beats and you’ve got a recipe for a long night of singing to yourself.

Now that I have a daily commute I’m listening to music a lot more and find myself singing odd snippets of songs throughout the day and . Below are a few of my favorites songs with the lyrics that I like or are intrigued by the most.

The John Wayne, Little Green Cars

Money Lyric: “It’s easy to hate yourself, when all your love is in someone else.” — The rest of the lyrics to this song are a little uninspired, I feel like this line makes up for all of it. There’s just a simple truth to it that I find so appealing.

Sweet Life, Frank Ocean

Money Lyric: “Don’t know why see the world, when you’ve got the beach.” — I have a penchant for lyrics that are both happy and sad. If you haven’t listened to Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, do yourself a favor and do it now. His entire album is filled with these little gems.

Young Hearts, Strange Talk

Money Lyric: “We’re young hearts, look at us go. All we really need is a stereo.” — All cliches aside, when I first heard this song, I wish I had been able to listen to it in high school so my friends and I could ride around at night, blasting this song with the windows rolled down. It honestly begs for it.

Old 45’s, Chromeo

Money Lyric: “Boys are non-committal, they’re always in the middle, it bothers you a little, it bothers you a little, why can’t we be like Mom & Dad.” — This song is basically all about how to get back to romance, without be overly misogynistic. Plus this is a pretty fantastic beat.

Trustful Hands, The Dø

Money Lyric: “We were meant to make a thing or two, meant to break the laws of gravity too.” — I love the extremes in this line. To me this says, we are small but we are also mighty and we are capable. We are so capable.

Leave A Trace, CHVRCHES

Money Lyric: “You talk far too much, for someone so unkind, I will wipe the salt off of my skin, and I’ll admit that I got it wrong, and there is grey between the lines.” — I’m not sure I can add anything to this. But I love the imagery and grittiness to these lyrics. They’re very raw.

Radar Detector, Darwin Deez

Money Lyric: THE ENTIRE SONG. Seriously, this is a pretty short song, and it’s adorable and real and worth a listen.

Hide, Little May

Money Lyric: “Feed me words while you had her between your sheets, bet she likes that.” — I love this because you have no idea of the relationship behind these people. Who’s talking, and what do they mean? I think it’s up to you.

Little Italy, Little Comets

Money Lyric: “When the steeple cries, there’s a martyr, for every pause, when a dozen die, It’s a starter for ten, to the men, who proselytize that a life isn’t owned but atoned, they solidify, and in time become blackened and martyred.” — Little Comets is honestly one of the smartest bands/lyricists I have come across in some time. I have to unpack every song, and maybe that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the more I find, the more intrigued I get.

Jackie and Wilson, Hozier

Money Lyric: “‘Cause with my mid-youth crisis all said and done, I need to be youthfully felt ’cause, God, I never felt young” — This entire song is amazing while still being perfectly concise; its how we know Hozier is one of the leading lyricists in this generation. But I love the idea that you someone else can make you feel like a whole different person, and how exciting that can be.

One Small Step for Kelly, One Giant Leap for her Confidence!

A waist is a terrible thing to mind...or is it the other way..???

A waist is a terrible thing to mind…or is it the other way..???

For those of you who aren’t friends with me on Facebook (if you aren’t tell me how you found this piece!) I got a job! I will be working as a Literary Assistant at WME, a talent agency. My searching has been the topic of a few of these blog posts – mainly how hard it was that nobody got back to me and the crippling fear that comes with having no purpose in life. But now that I got one of those job things, everything is peachy right!

Wrong.

That was dramatic. Let’s back up. So today was literally my first day. I mainly filled out paper work and shadowed the person who’s position I will be taking over. Nothing about the job is particularly difficult given my prior experience. It’s all things that I will be able to get done in the 10 hour day I am obligated to work.

And we’ve reached the crux of the problem. That’s right, 10 hours. Now this isn’t really all that crazy, most assistants these days work 10 hours even if they aren’t required too. And I luckily get time and a half for anything that is over 40 hours a week, so really my deal is pretty sweet. But the 10 hour work day got me thinking about how I would schedule the other 14 hours of my day. And that thought spiraled pretty quickly.

The thing about being poor and not having a job is that your social activities are pretty much dictated for you. Movies or the occasional night out are allowed intermittently. Most hang sessions happen at somebody’s house with netflix and really cheap food. I didn’t sign up for any classes or invest my money in any new purchases. I also spent long hours away from everyone and got to decide when and where I would go outside if I wanted to. I was basically a hermit that reached out to civilization when I could or wanted. And after doing that for a year, I have to admit it’s kind of a habit and one that I like. I am not a huge extrovert nor am I an expensive person. But now I am suddenly in the possession of a lot more money and a lot less free time.

So what do I do with this new money? Do I spread it out over a bunch of small purchases? Do I save all of my hard earned cash. And what about my seriously diminished free time? Should I be up in the gym working on my fitness? Or should I finally take that improv class I have been wanting to take for years? OR should I just go home each evening and sit with my friends and shoot the shit?

I know there has to be a balance and I should give myself time to work everything out. “It was just her first day!” you think to yourself, “this girl needs some serious help and also free alcohol for a year!” Reader, I completely agree with you (especially about the wine). One has give yourself time to adapt, to get your bearings. I guess my trigger happy attitude comes from the part of me that thought this, me getting a job, was never going to happen. I feel like I have already wasted a year and I don’t want to waste anymore. Now I must do ALL THE THINGS.

But of course that’s the wrong way to look at this experience. I didn’t waste a year. I tried something new and now it’s paying off. And hopefully this job will pay off in the same way. As my mother always said, take it one step at a time.

Coming to You Live from the Wilds of Canada…

So this is going to be a fairly short post, because I am on vacation in Vancouver, with a few days in Seattle at the end of the trip. So in this post you’re going to get some pictures, some brief thoughts, and probably a lot of me just yelling things.

A few things about Canada that keep me awake at night:

Canadian Netflix – mostly the same, but just a little bit different in ways that are mostly just making me jealous. They still have Dawson’s Creek! The Dawson’s Creek director’s cut two hour finale is hypothetically what might have made me start paying to illegally stream TV shows. If I were the kind of person who did that sort of thing. Canadian Netflix also has Wild with Reese Witherspoon, which I loved loved loved in book form. They have Friends with Benefits, but they do not appear to have microcategories – unless that’s an Apple TV thing, which seems possible. What if I want my Steamy Romance with a Strong Female Lead, demands Taekia, the voice of a generation searching for an identity. Canadian Netflix appears not to have the West Wing. Its a bit hit or miss up here in the Great White North.

Monopoly Money: Seriously. I know we Americans with our boring green currency, probably say that about every country. But Canadian money has two holes in it that are covered with a weird textured plastic. Their brightly colored money has a HOLE in it. Its the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen that is money related. And I have seen lots of different money. It is weirder than paying for things in increments of 100 in India.

The CW films here – I TOTALLY WALKED PAST JESSE L MARTIN AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.

Lastly – Its just too fucking pretty.

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How to Ballad like the 80s.

Things have been pretty heavy on this blog for the past couple of weeks. Mainly because, as many of you know, our parents have moved – and safely arrived in Australia while Sara and I remain firmly here. So to liven things up a bit and to remind you all how delightful we are, I thought this week we would concentrate on something a little bit more fun. And that is 80s Power Ballads.

What makes an 80s Power Ballad? Is it something that can only exist in the 80s, or was that when the concept was invented? These questions, plus many more, will be tackled in this blog post.

This idea/thought/question/tick first came to me when I had Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” stuck in my head as I was, you guessed it, trying to fall asleep. The music video is below for your convenience. I suggest you find a lighter to light so you can get the full experience.

My mind was turning this tune over and over and I started to think about what genre this song would be in. I immediately thought of it as a power ballad. To me, this song has all the same concepts that carried our favorite 80s tunes. It’s a hard rock song with a slow tempo and an epic, upswinging chorus complete with sexy saxophone. The only difference is that this song was released in 1998, a full eight years to late to the 80s party. So I then wondered if these epic ballads could only exist in the 80s or if they could/had become their own genre of music. Later I brought this idea up to my roommate, and she disagreed. To her, power ballads don’t really exist anymore and are instead just slower rock songs. They are an invention of that existed for one shining decade and then faded away along with mullets and leg warmers.

This is where things got pretty theoretical. First I wanted to see if there was an actual definition of 80s power ballads floating around. If so, they argument would be settled, and I could move on to more pressing matters like what exactly is the threshold between semi-sweet and dark chocolate. So I turned to the trusty internet. Urban Dictionary, which defines Power Ballads as a, “trademark of heavy metal bands of the 80’s that are making a comeback. An acoustic rock song with heavy guitar.” Hmmmm, this is a pretty vague statement. First off, it would seem from this definition the 80s band in question has to be making a comeback for their song to be considered a power ballad. But this statement also says that these songs just have to be an acoustic rock song with “heavy guitar” whatever that means.

The absence of a right answer or a definitive definition did nothing to quell my desire to categorize these songs. I dug further into genre. Do Power Ballads only exist in the rock music? Would we classify Alicia Key’s music or Adele’s music power ballads or is that just R&B? What about country songs? Do their sad, sorry love songs work as power ballads, or is country music it’s own thing all together?

Right now, I don’t have any more insight into this subject than when I started. I go back and forth a lot. So days I think that the only actual power ballad is Poison’s Every Rose Has It’s Thorn, and some days I think the 80s Power Ballad is actually every song ever made. I would love to hear your thoughts, especially from those people who lived and rocked out during that time.

And in case you had zero idea of what I was talking about during this whole post, please refer to the videos below.

Poison’s Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Bon Jovi’s I’ll Be There For You

Def Leppard’s Love Bits