White Girl Solutions.

For those of you who understand, there is an underlying agreement when you drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte, you’re committing to fall. It’s like there’s an underlining understanding between you and Starbucks, saying yes. Bring on the scarves. Bring on the falling leaves, bonfires and cold nights. We’re almost into October, and I still haven’t drank my pumpkin spice latte.

I know. I know. What is taking myself so long?

Like everything I do, it’s a whole process. First, I have to be in the fall mindset. I’m usually ready a lot earlier than I am this year. But then again, I’ve been doing a lot this summer, and really enjoyed it. I’m not quite ready to give it up.

I’m still not sold on the fall weather either. I’m in Colorado now, and there’s something about fall in the Great Lakes that I’m missing. I’m telling myself that it’s just too early. The 80 degree days are helping me push the date.

Furthermore, I don’t have my fall playlist built yet. I’ve been making playlists since the beginning of time. I’ve been just sort of rolling with whatever all summer, and have heard some varied but good music. I’m not sure what I should be listening to this fall. I’m somewhere between Tupac and Marina + the Diamonds if that tells you anything.

I don’t have my fall look either. I’m working on it, but I haven’t done anything yet. No major decisions have been made. I’m hoping it’s big, so its’ vaguely under wraps. I almost made a post about it, but I don’t want to give anything away.

Like I said, a whole process.

Putting off drinking my PSL is making me oddly productive and I am waiting until it is the perfect day to enjoy it. In the perfect outfit. With the right weather. I know. I’m asking for the impossible. But I’m willing to wait.

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Boom Clap – a Summer 2k14 Update

Do people even blog anymore?

Since turning 25, I wonder about my cultural relevance in this world. I’m sure to the newly 18 year old that I used to work with would think that I’m ancient, but to someone like my former boss, I’m still hipster and happening.

Being 25 has been great to me, actually. Since my last entry, I’ve single-handedly moved across the country and now am working on an Urban Homestead, and flexing my writing muscles for real. Which is why I’ve resurrected this blog. I don’t call myself Phoenix for nothing.

I decided to make this blog entry about the ‘2k14 Summer Song’. After many Cosmo editors’ tweets about it and this absolutely bangarang recap of the charts (vult.re/1AbF3Eo), I’ve really gotten to wonder about the summer song. (If you’re into music articles of this summer, you should also check out this one: http://www.vulture.com/2014/07/we-deserve-a-better-song-of-summer.html)

I’m particularly invested in this topic because this is the summer that I became an EDM video kid. You can blame Ke$ha for this, dollar sign and all. One watch of her C’Mon video and I never looked back. Thanks to her, Tiesto, Hardwell, and electronic musicians and their videos, I took their advice.

I quit my day job, sublet my apartment, and my sister took my cat for the summer adventure of a lifetime. I skipped town in my car with about $750 and decided to make a summer full of memories.

I can tell you two things about this summer so far. One: $750 is not what it used to be. Two: The music has been great.

Everywhere I listen, there is great music being played. I watched a drag performance in Quincy, Illinois, saw a solid band in Nashville, I hit up Westword Music Showcase in Denver and the radio play has been stellar as well.

Local stations have been great. Alt rock stations are playing Depeche Mode, clubs are still playing Timber, EDM is still fun and boundary pushing, and pop music is dirty, weird and fun.

You can hate ‘Wiggle’. It’s encouraged. ‘Talk Dirty’ was ruined thanks to a Vine with Disney’s Stitch. (Look that one up if you want to enjoy 6 seconds of life changing hilarity.) But I-G-G-Y is blowing up our charts and changing our summer.

This isn’t a think piece about Iggy Azalea, because I’m pretty sure this is her Auburn summer. She’ll get a couple credits, maybe a theme in a movie about our generation, but I don’t see her being ‘The New Classic’ she is hoping.

Arguably, the two biggest contenders of the summer song are ‘Fancy’ featuring Charli XCX and ‘Problem’ with Ariana Grande. Iggy’s done well for herself in cementing 2k14 status, but we don’t know what to do with her remarks, nor her music as a cultural standard, so most people, myself included are trying to save the 2k14 song for something better.

My original pick for this summer was ‘La La La’ by Naughty Boy, because it’s catchy and the video is cinematic, but I think it’s a little too out there and maybe a little too grating for it to have taken off, so I accept its defeat.

I would love for ‘Lovers on the Sun’ to be the Indian Summer Hit. (I struggle to vye for this too hard, because of the racist undertones of the term ‘Indian Summer’ but I think it would be appropriate given the vibe of the song and the time it would hit mainstream media.)

Instead I’d like to nominate ‘Boom Clap’ by Charli XCX. Now, I know it isn’t THE most played song of the summer, nor is it the most iconic. But, I think it has the most cultural relevance.

Charli XCX has maintained in our pop minds for awhile now. My Spring Break 2013 playlist included basically just remixes of ‘I Love It’ her featured song with Icona Pop. Even as the undisputed champ of airplay is ‘Fancy’ and I’m convinced that without her, that song would be unchartable.

Charli’s solo hit has been ‘Boom Clap’. Most people know the song. It’s the one tied into tfios. tfios is probably the second biggest acronym of ’14, after OITNB. To further my point, OITNB had a tfios reference, making the song doubly relevant to this summer.

I’d like to use the evidence of the video to push for this to be the song. It’s got all the scenes that we died over in the movie, and we’ve got Charli XCX being a fun-loving indie soul that we want to be friends with. She’s got classic 2k14 hair (thank you Katniss and Lorde), a crop top and Lisa Frank inspired drawings that we know we’re all going to be so into this fall.

I’m sure whatever we decide, I’ll be happy with it. Except if we all get bored and pick ‘Happy’ because hello February. This summer has been quirky but fun, just like the music. And, like all music “The beat goes on and on and on and on” into Fall ’14.

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“It’s an honour just to be nominated”

 

Sitting in front of my television, I always was surprised how sincere everyone says they are just happy to be there. As a competitive person, I never thought that it was possible to be happy to be tied for second on international television. You work so hard on something you care about, and you go through all these sacrifices to put your best work out there only for someone to snatch up the award and thank their mother and say, “The people in my category are so deserving of this and I’m amazed to be nominated with them.” How very nice, but if you are sitting down, you still didn’t win. 

I was really confused with this concept until it hit close to home in a way that I could relate to. Contrary to my high school aspirations, and my very private fantasies, I will not be going to the Oscars for the amazing film that I wrote, directed, produced, and starred in and win 14 Academy Awards. Instead, I got the opportunity to apply for an internship to one of my dream companies in Chicago, my favourite city in the world. 

To be fair, I really didn’t think I had a chance of even being a blip on their radar.  I was amazed to find out they wanted an interview. We scheduled the time, and I prepared as best I could. As interviews go, I think it went really well. (I am a terrible at forced interaction, and making myself good in public is about as easy as pulling teeth from a shark.) It was a good back and forth and I learned more about their company and I think I gave them a decent view into my world without scaring them too much. (Maybe talking about masturbation was a bit much, but if Cosmo can tweet about it, why can’t I bring it up?) I had really good answers and really decent questions for them. I have gone through interviews where I have bombed, so I was feeling good about it. 

I was told that I would hear from them on Monday, and I anxiously waited. And waited. And waited. Fun fact: the weekend is a really long 48 hours when there is little to distract from the fact you might be relocating to a different time zone in less than a week. Not to mention, this is a huge step that I would be making in my career and I would be readjusting my entire life for this. All of this information was so much to handle in one weekend. 

Today, I received an email with my fate. I was not given the internship, but I was given a positive rejection, and to look for possible future positions. I’ve sent out the obligatory “I didn’t get it” txts, and have gotten “I’m sorry” in return, but really I’m not. I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry at all. 

First and foremost, I’m just glad I know the outcome. I’ve been nervous for a week. Getting an interview for something that I care about was amazing in itself. I’m glad that I know where I stand in the industry. I’m glad that my resume qualified me an interview, even though I am 3 states away, in the 3rd largest city in the country. I’m glad that I have the support from my friends and family to want me to go and follow my dreams. I’m so blessed that when it all came together that it could have happened and I had friends in Chicago who were there to catch me when I got there. 

I feel like I’m am miles ahead of where I was 3 weeks ago, and I am so glad I have gotten this opportunity to really  put myself to the test. While I didn’t come in first, I really feel like I did cross the finish line. And, when it is all said and done, it really is just an honour just to be nominated. 

 

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Boy Meets Girls or Girls & 1 Gay: Taking a Bender into Lena Dunham’s Mind

I did it. I broke down and watched ‘Girls’.

Instead of catching up on emails, putting boxes in the storage unit, vacuuming my office, or doing anything else productive, I sat through 11 episodes of the critically acclaimed show brought to us by the wack-a-doo mind that is Lena Dunham.

Why did I do this? I could have vacuumed and that would have been a more productive suck of time and energy. I could have gone through the other 75 shows currently sitting in my queue, but instead I sat through a show about white girl problems.

All because I hated Lena Dunham.

I’ve hated her since she started showing up on the scene. I don’t care how talented you are. I don’t care if you continue to put out amazing work and get nominated for something every year. When you are invited to big events, you put on a cute dress, bring a date, smile for the camera, graciously answer questions, and thank the little people that got you there.

When Lena goes to events, she is ‘better than it all’ dressing in unflattering outfits, smiling weirdly, and makes us stare at her awkward tattoos. I’m sure she’s a lovely girl, but speaking from the Awards Circuit, I haven’t been a big fan of hers.

I have almost the opposite problem that others do when it comes to Award Shows. Some people feel that when a front runner wins and runs up and is flattered (see: Taylor Swift) people jump up and  yell, “Don’t act surprised! You knew it was coming!” I believe that if you receive a major award, it doesn’t matter if you are expected to win, go up, accept the award, cry a little, thank your mom and your fans, and act flattered and surprised.

Watching Lena Dunham at the Golden Globes win her award, I was convinced. Her speech was typed out so she wouldn’t forget anyone. She was hurried, enough to get it all in because she knew she wasn’t going to have the music held for her, and she knew that this was her moment, and that her work was finally being recognized  and I respected that.

So, I decided to watch the show. One episode turned into two, then next thing I knew, I had already watched the entire season 1 and was making my way through the premiere of the second season. I literally spent an entire day watching a show about white girl problems. I literally went on a bender, complete with online ordered Pizza Hut. I don’t really see that it should have been another way.

Now, unless you’ve lived under a rock, you know what the complaints of this show are: hipster bullshit, trite, no PoC, etc. I can tell you all of this is true. But, what else do you expect from a show that showcases a life of a 20-something Michigan transplant living in Brooklyn trying to make it as a writer?

The thing that struck me about this show is how unlikable everyone in the show is. Every single person in this show is flawed. Each person has their flaws so transparent, you don’t want to be their friends or boyfriends. Lena Dunham’s character is the culprit of most of the unlikability, since she is the lead character. Her hatred towards herself and her self-serving tendencies put her at odds with almost everyone around her and for whatever reason it works.

Lena Dunham has probably gone where no one has gone before: Into the mind of a 20-something artist who doesn’t know anything except how to have fun and that she doesn’t want to fail. That sounds like the concept of every art opening, every hipster song and every essay on Thought Catalog. She talks about the things we talk about but we don’t talk about that we talk about it.

Plenty of sex, drugs and indie rock and roll is found in this show, and it is nothing new to those of us who live it. For those haters who have “lived this life back when” the characters seem whiny and over-privileged, remembering that this is a fictional show may help ease the wound, but knowing that this is the society of the newly graduated working class. (That is a topic discussed in episode 9). For those of us who live this life and wonder what our lives would look like on a reality show, this is it.

It talks about the problems of our generation: dating with Facebook, working an unpaid internship hoping that it will turn into a paying job, dealing with bosses with the “Old World” mentality, lack of free wifi. Yes, many of these are white girl problems, but these are our problems. These are the lives we lead.

Personally, I can name people in real life that embody each  character. We all know the girl still obsessed with SatC years later, and the party girl who has done it all, and the uptight I-need-a-boyfriend-to-be-happy friend.

Is it easy to hate? Yes.
Is it easy to love? Yes.

Is Lena Dunham one of the strongest voices of our generation? So far, I’d say yes. She is saying what everyone else says behind closed doors and is not afraid to put herself on the line to do it. I wish I had the balls to do it myself.

Which leads the question, which character am I?

I’ll never tell.

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and_frankly: A Discussion on Christian Persecution & Marriage

Many eons ago, (like last AUGUST) blogger Alycia Neighbours from and_frankly asked me to weigh in on a post about Christian Persecution of Marriage. And like the procrastinator I am, especially about hard hitting issues like religion, politics and marriage, I read it and promptly let it simmer in my mind for me to make my points the most eloquent that I could. Then life got busy and thus it is NOVEMBER and I realised I never wrote my opinions on the subject like I was going to. (No, I did not forget. It’s actually been on my whiteboard at Ampersand Review for months. So, without further ado, a response to this post: http://alycianeighbours.com/2012/08/27/dear-kitty-40/)

Marriage and Christianity are two of my favourite topics in the whole world. (They’re not, but they sure are interesting to talk about, especially when there are so many schools of thought on the matter.) But Alycia has a point. Marriage is a cornerstone of the Christian agenda. (if the Gays have one, the Christians have one.) People keep getting hung up on this word because it means something to them. All too often, believers in the JC talk about marriage like it’s something sacred and something that only they can do because “God. He loves me and because he loves me and my spouse, we have this, like bond that can’t be broken because we made vows in front of people and we’re awesome in His eyes and that’s why marriage is so important to the Christians and why no one else can have it.”

Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but we all know that couple. Marriage is the end all, be all, and if you don’t have a marriage like theirs than you are doing life WRONG. Maybe it’s because they are just so happy and they “just didn’t know what love really was” until they exchanged vows or because they got married and lived the life that they were ‘supposed to’ that it’s for everyone, if they want a fulfilling life. 

Well, I sort of have news for y’all. Shit happens.

(Divorce) (Adultery) (Coming Out of the Closet years later) (Kids) (Irreconcilable Differences)

and it’s not your job to judge people on why their marriage works or doesn’t work. Because unless you’re God, you don’t judge. And spoiler alert: you’re not the Big Man Upstairs. 

See, the thing about Jesus is that he loved everyone equally, because he could. He wanted everyone to be loved regardless of their past, their family and their transgressions. Which is awesome, regardless how you feel about religion. 

Too often people get hung up (and claim atheism) because the Christian ideals are forcibly shoved down their throats and people don’t hear about a dude who loves everyone just the way they are, but instead of a place of eternal suffering because they didn’t live their life “correctly.”

but I digress.

Alycia put it in words that I could not. But she’s right. Jesus would want better for you, but he wouldn’t give you a guilt trip. Everyone has their own ideals about marriage but the best thing you can do is be there for people in their trying time and not be a douchebag because you feel they did it wrong. Because that’s not actually your call. 

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TheGlassPhoenix blogs about Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday starts tomorrow night, and as TheGlassPhoenix I figured it would be kismut for me to write about it. (Okay, sue me. I’m making bad puns about phoenixes and ashes. It’s funny. Trust me.)

But seriously, this is a big deal.

I had my Paczki, and the one for good luck, of course. Mardi Gras went off without a hitch, or so I saw on the internet. And, tomorrow thousands of people (I’m going to guess thousands. Maybe I’m overestimating the holiday) will wake up with a hangover that they rightfully deserved from one too many drinks, and beads will have sentimental value and good stories attached to them. And sometime around sundown, many people will head into their church, renounce their sins and take part in Lent.

My dad is a pastor and I remember Ash Wednesday very well. It was a time for penance, and a time to be grateful for what you had. It was also a time, at least for me, to try to take a stab at my New Year’s Resolutions again.

Well, this year, I actually have been doing well on my resolution. I only had one this year. Drink more water. I have been. I’m about 3 glasses a day. It doesn’t seem like an improvement, but when I had been drinking a glass about 3 times a year, I’d consider it a success.

Since this year’s usual plan to give up something for Lent is out, I realised I had about 18 hours to figure it out. Then, after going through the things that I should give up, and should  pick up as good habits, I realised that my shortcomings would last me Lents until I lay on my deathbed.

I can picture it now. I’m laying on my deathbed, looking at the wall, saying “For Lent last year I should have decided to make housework a priority because I can’t get up but I’m still looking at that stack of laundry that has been there since Thanksgiving. And, now I can’t even get up to fix it. I’m going to give up swearing because the laundry doesn’t want to know how I feel about it right now.”
(I picture myself as a codgy old man with knitted blankets that are frayed because I insisted doing myself and a cardigan that should go into the trash but I’ve had it for 80 years, and I’m going before it does.)

So, I made a decision. I’m going to try to give up something everyday, and everyday I’m going to try to pick up a new habit. I think for tomorrow I’ve decided to make sure I put my shoes away when I get home, and not speed on my way to work.

I really hope that my balance of giving up one bad habit and picking up one good habit will open my eyes to the kind of thing I really want to change in my life, not to mention how much work it will take to get there.

Instead of giving up one thing, which will only make me want it more, (because I will break my own rules because I made them, and I can break them) if I put the work into manageable bites, I might actually keep a Lent goal this year.

With that, I think I will have one more Paczki and go to bed.

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why won’t Siri talk to me?

Because, I apparently I think I am privileged, and four years old. I’m whining on a public forum about my iPhone’s personal assistant. (Who would’ve thought our phones would get a personal assistant before most of us would?)

Hedwig, my phone, is great. She’s perfect and sleek. She’s smart, and I like her. Siri, her personal assistant is a pain. I’d use another word here, but I’ve been trying to cut down on my swearing.

She actively hinders my attempt to be productive. The other day when said to “txt Leah,” ‘Are You That Somebody?’ started playing. Now, I’m sure Aaliyah would be proud that Siri felt it at that moment to make her life relevant to me, all I wanted to do was txt my friend back.

Today, on the way to work, “Play Coldplay Mylo Xyloto” went from “Milo the lotto” to Bob Marley’s ‘Could You Be Loved’ playing.  I had even spelled it out in the speech bubble. I don’t understand how that could have messed up.

On my way to go to a bar, I pressed the button to talk to her. NOTHING. No ding. Nothing.

Driving down a potholed road, I have to log into Maps, MANUALLY to type in the name of the bar. How annoying is that?

(Again, I told you this was a whiny first world post about how Thom’s iPhone doesn’t work. I’m sorry. You can stop reading at any time.)

Sometimes, she pretends she’s going to be productive and helpful. I’ll press the button, she’ll ding hello. (I am convinced that is what the first ding means. The latter one is lower, and therefore means goodbye, but I digress. Often.) I’ll ask her “play Foster The People” and she’ll say something like, “one moment.” “I’m thinking” then

“I’m sorry. I can’t take any requests right now. Please come back later.”

Uhm. What?

Did I offend you in some way? Why won’t you talk to me? Am I crazy for thinking that you have feelings and therefore can decide that you are not going to grant my wishes?

I went up to the closest Apple Store to ask them what the problem was, but the Genius Bar was too booked for me to see them. The lanky attendant asked me very offending questions about my knowledge of iTunes. Okay, not really that offending, but I think I know how to find the reset button on my iPhone setting in my iTunes. (Okay, that may be more work than I knew, ..but still I know how to do it.)

I thought it was fixed when my boyfriend did something magical with my phone. He messed with settings and said he did [insert real things that I know he worked with but I don’t for the life of me know what] and Siri seemed to work.

But then today happened.

So tomorrow, I’m probably going to have to completely factory reset my phone and hope that it fixes itself. If it doesn’t, I’ll be taking another trip to Ye Olde Apple Store. (It’s 2:11am. Judge me at a later time.) If it does, I’ll be thrilled but always wondering why Siri didn’t work when I first got her.

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