The Last DJ

In a seemingly other life, I was a music writer. My inspiration drew from honoring and describing the art of others. Musicians were my inspiration, the painters of my world and my childhood friends.

I was raised on classic rock, as were my sisters. But, their tastes seemed to evolve and I somehow found my joy from getting lost in the world of 60s and 70s music. I found the best of friends in John, Paul, George, Ringo, Elton John, Cher, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, The Mamas and the Papas, The Everly Brothers, Crosby, Nash, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty.

The news of his passing reminded me not only of my own mortality, but of the end of another dear childhood friend. I remembered how his music kind of carried me through the awkward phase of life.

I thought back to a time when I was in my very first bedroom alone after my big sister had moved out. When I would sit on the bed with my puppy and listen to a cassette of Wildflowers on repeat -when I was happy, when I was sad, when I needed to reflect on whatever had happened in that day. It was the first cassette I’d ever bought on my own.

The song, Wildflowers, was a reminder that I belonged somewhere I felt free, far away from my troubles and worries. The song, You Don’t Know How it Feels was a comforting reminder that I wasn’t the only person in the world who felt misunderstood. The video was one of the most amazingly artistic things I had ever seen since my intitial discovery of MTV.

 

I remembered the time they sent me the album, The Last DJ to review. As I listened to it in the quad with my Walkman, I stopped in my tracks as my heart broke into a million pieces as he sang about all the many ways in which rock had died. The music industry had self-destructed. It wasn’t like anything I had ever heard before. It was angry and broken. He was a dying breed and he was definitely raging against the dying of the light. But he pressed on.

Tom Petty was the main thing I had in common with my stepdad and mom. We had passed an album of his greatest hits back and fourth so many times, we had forgotten who had actually owned it. I think we saw him play live about three times. We had talked about seeing him this last time at the Hollywood Bowl. We wanted to but there were only nosebleed seats left. In a crowd of old stoners, you do not want to be in the back by the grass.  And you know what? I might have been the only person under 45 in the crowd, but it didn’t even matter. Tom Petty was a brilliant showman. He was a friend and would always be a friend.

His music was mainly clean, well written and was written to comfort the underdog. It was music for those of us who felt like misfits and losers. He wrote about life, love, fun,freedom and people who learned their lessons the hard way.

So goodbye dear friend and good night, rock n’ roll.

 

 

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Disney AP Rebounding

I love Disneyland. I have loved Disneyland my entire life without limits. I regularly researched ticket prices and package deals for Walt Disney World since I was 9 years old.

I attribute their success to Walt’s ability to tap into his inner child in such a way that it could be timeless and accessible to everyone. It’s a place where time stands still. It’s a world of fantasy, of better days, of childhood memories and escape.

But TODAY, it has become a place where you wait in line for hours and could potentially end up paying over $1000.00 for an Annual Pass without block out dates. I love Disneyland, but it does not love me back. I’ll go back to visit in October when my friends visit from Nor Cal. But even then, maybe I’ll just go to Downtown Disney and leave it at that.

Before I had the Disneyland Annual Pass (for the past three years), I had a Universal Studios Pass. I originally got it on a whim when my sister got it and then myself and another friend got them two years in a row. It had been 10 years since I had been there before that point.

Universal Studios has always been a B plan after Disney and Knotts was the C plan. I only go when I can get in free or at a good discount. Universal didn’t have that generational legacy or emotional pull for me. It was something to do for a day in Los Angeles. It closed early, it never changed and it was very small. It was practically ALL shows. I’m not even sure why I had an Annual Pass there for as long as I did. I knew I wasn’t going to go back until it had totally changed again. I will never forgive them for getting rid of the ET ride.

That brings me up to a couple weeks ago, when my best friend and I decided we were going to get an Annual Pass. It was the cheapest way for us to go and pratically the whole park had changed since I had last been there.

I’m a huge Simpsons Fan and she’s a huge Harry Potter Fan, so we took turns nerding out.The most suprising thing was that we stayed all day and didn’t do everything.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is small, but it looks big. There are only two rides, one restaurant, a few shops and some snack carts.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was by far one of the biggest mind freak rides I have ever been on. Now that the park is going in the direction of providing all emersive experiences, they have really made use of technology in new amazing ways that make you question reality. It had the greatest line walk through that I’ve ever experienced. It was an indoor rollercoaster, with a mix of actual animatronic and dome screen projections. If you’ve been on the Transformers ride, it’s the same kind of concept engineering wise.

We had frozen Butterbeer, ran around Springfield, watched the Waterworld Stunt Show, rode Despicable Me ride, the Mummy, Jurassic Park and the Backlot tour. Then, we left about an hour before the park closed.

The biggest disappointment for the both of us was the Fast and Furious “ride along” part of the Backlot Tour. There’s no movie magic in the world that was going to convince us that it wasn’t a total waste of time.

We didn’t have time for the Animal Actor Show or the new Special Effects show. It was a little disapointing. But for the FIRST time ever, I had a reason to go back.

In Alice’s Garden

This weekend started with a new couch and ended with the nagging feeling that I should share a story of what happens inside the brain of a single introvert when they are invited to go to a wedding (or other large social event).

I even struggled because it can be a little embarrassing to admit that such a trivial (otherwise happy) event can cause a person so much frustration and inner turmoil. I hope that by sharing this, my friends who have expressed that they have had the same type of experiences would be comforted in knowing that they aren’t the only ones. I hope that those who don’t go through the same thing can maybe get a little insight into why some people simply choose not to join the party once in a while.

Weddings happen to be one of my main anxiety triggers. They are a place where I feel totally alone, have no idea how to keep a conversation going, and get totally lost in the process. The first wedding that I remember having been to, was one that ended in a massive fight and us kids having to be escorted out for safety reasons. I don’t know if that has anything to do with the over all discomfort that I associate with weddings. I’m an adult and I can cognitively distinguish that it was an isolated incident.  But, I believe that was the first time I my brain decided that it did not enjoy weddings.

So, let’s start with the fact that I did not originally plan to go to this wedding. As a general rule, I don’t go to weddings anymore. I support weddings and marriages wholeheartedly. I just have a hard time with the social context.

I didn’t get to go through all of the various emotions beforehand. I didn’t have time to ask if I could bring a guest. I didn’t have the time, money, or desire to go all out with my hair and makeup (which normally builds my confidence).  I didn’t have mini speeches prepared to explain why I took the summer off of school, why I’m still single, why I’ve been “gone” or why I wasn’t going to try to catch the bouquet or dance.  I didn’t have the money to go out the night before and get  hotel or carpool with anyone else.

I asked a good friend of mine, how I could get through the situation without breaking in the process. She suggested that I pray that morning, have something warm to drink, give myself plenty of time to get ready and to have a B plan of escape (if needed). All of those things were very comforting.

I went because the bride has been like a kid sister to me and I know that those two crazy kids are meant to be together. I may not ever understand how to get from point A to point B, but I can recognize when right is right. I needed to be there to support them and because I genuinely love them both.

I kept my choices minimal so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. All I had to do was 1) decide what to wear, 2) time the drive from here to Carlsbad, 3) get a gift. Everything else was a non-issue.

I took my time getting ready. There was a ton of traffic.

Stressor #1: I got lost.

I used the address and ended up in a residential area. I looked up the name of the venue and decided that if that failed…I would seriously turn around and go straight home. I didn’t even care if it took me an hour and a half to get there. I would have turned right around and driven another hour and a half straight just go back home. I’ve done it before.

I finally found the “Flower Fields,” but was a half an hour late. On the bright side, I didn’t have to stress about where to sit because I didn’t have many options.

Stressor #2: Awkward socialization after the ceremony, but before the dinner.

I usually try to bring a friend or my sister as a social buffer to get me out of uncomfortable conversations. However, like I said before…not an option this time. I floated from awkward conversation to the garden and back again. I thought about how I could relate to Alice’s love of the garden and running away from the pressure of having to behave a certain way. I killed just enough time to convince myself to stay through dinner.

Stressor #3: Being too distracted to contribute to conversations

Smile and nod. Smile and nod. Laugh. Smile. Nod.

Stressor #4: Repressed Emotions.

If no one else had cried, I probably would have been fine. Seeing the bride’s sister cry broke me. I can’t even explain why. Maybe it’s just this overly empathetic heart of mine. I was not prepared for the flood of emotion that came after.

The father-daughter dance always makes me cry.

Then, the bride sings “Love me Tender” and I was done. My heart had exploded with all kinds of girl emotions all over the place.

I was happy. I was sad. I was a lot of things that I couldn’t make sense of.

Stressor #5: Oh hell no! I’m not dancing. Peace OUT.

They announced swing dancing instructors.  I have said it once and I will say it again, “Mexicans do not swing dance”. I do not swing dance. I’m going home.

 

I practically ran out of there. It was late and cold anyway.

I’m not sorry that I went. It takes me a little bit of effort to do things that I don’t particularly love. I’m glad that I got to witness such a great, real love story. I didn’t get any of the “single girl pep talks” that are usually a huge part of the wedding experience. People seemed more mellow than usual.

My mind wandered as I drove home. I thought about the peculiar events that led to getting the second best piece of furniture I own (next to my bed). I thought about how rare it is to have effortless friends who connect to your soul in a way you can’t explain and then can leave in a minutes notice. Or how you can be totally fine with life for a long string of time and then meet one person who makes you realize that maybe you were wrong about everything within a 5 minute conversation. I cried. I didn’t know why.

I thought about how no one had asked or had known what I had been doing the entire weekend. I could have been anywhere and no one was even curious or concerned. I wondered how long it was going to take me to get home. I wondered how hungry the bunnies must have been at that point having not eaten at their regular time.

I got home. I don’t even remember what was on tv. I wanted to watch Sweet Charity. But, I was too lazy to look for it.

I washed my face. Put on my PJ’s. Curled up on the couch and then fell asleep. It was like a big warm hug from a stranger, saying everything was going to be ok eventually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Everywhere and Nowhere

Before I started school, there were some weekends where I didn’t leave my house all day.  Most of the days when I had nowhere to go, I would go to Disneyland.

Today, I miss Disneyland. I stood home most of the day. Mainly, I stood home because I needed to observe Snowball for a few hours to make sure he’d been eating and drinking ok. I figured if I had to go anywhere, it would have been to the vet’s office or to Bunny Bunch to get supplies.  But, it got late. I did some research about what it could be or if I should be worried. I texted Caroline from Bunny Bunch and she said I should experiment with different hay.  So it seems that he will be ok, but I need to get him to eat more hay.

On days like this, I usually watch movies all day,clean and catch up on my DVR stuff. But, every now and again I get stuck on YouTube looking up videos of other places that I’d like to be.

I like to watch videos of rides at places that I will probably never go, like the new ones at Walt Disney World, Disney Paris, Disney Sea and the ones that don’t exist anymore at Disneyland, ect.  I love watching the videos of people visiting abandoned theme parks. If you get the chance, you should look up Nara Dream Land in Japan. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s almost like time traveling. The internet is cool that way.

So, that has led me to the only kind of tourism I’ve been able to do lately..the vicarious kind. I’ve stumbled upon these YouTube Channels of these guys that go to Disneyland nearly every day and do a bunch of things in Southern California. It’s like the greatest thing to me right now because I don’t have my Annual Pass anymore, so I can’t see all the new things that are happening and I have to go back to school again in about a week for a very intensive Summer season.

I started watching a YouTube Channel called Randomland/LiveFastDiePoor, where this guy (Justin Scarred) covers every aspect of Disneyland you could ever think of,  other Disney parks and properties and other tourist attractions in the LA/OC area. The great part about it is that it’s very edited and the guy is very entertaining. It wasn’t like anything I had ever seen, which is typically just video of the rides or interactions with the park Characters. He has a second vlog called The Sometimes Vlog which is a little less edited and more personal. Through that, I found another one called The Daily Woo.

This dude named Adam Woo had his vlog first and has been doing it for around 1400 episodes. It’s basically the same  idea. He used to travel around the US in van going to abandoned theme parks and random tourist spots. Then he settled in Orange County for a bit and is going back out to travel in his van around the US.

They sell merchandise and take donations to pay their bills and fund their travels, which is amazing. I mean who wouldn’t want to do whatever they feel like and get paid to do it? I envy that. But then again, I’m not a dude..so I would never live in a van. I’m not that into taking too many risks either. I value my stability too much.

 

I love these Vlogs and at the same time, it kind of makes me sad because they are essentially doing every day is what I wish I could do just every now and again. They seem to be having a lot more fun than I ever could even when I did have the time.

So check out Justin Scarred or Adam the Woo on Facebook or Twitter and find their YouTube Channels. You will not be disapointed. They’re also kid friendly, so that’s nice. No cursing or questionable material. Just a lot of crazy random fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Day, Another $

I’ve been considering just ghosting on this blog for a few reasons.

Things have changed, I have changed. It almost seems as if it happened overnight. But truly it started around right after I last posted on this blog.

I was perfectly happy just to do what I do, which is work and frolic around Southern California. Then, I finally sunk my teeth into what has now engulfed my entire being. I decided to go back to school. Or rather, it decided for me.

It’s been an interesting year to have a Disneyland Annual Pass without block-out dates and no friends to go with. It hasn’t been terrible, just thought provoking. It got me through some very dark days of self doubt and feeling like going forward with applying to school was going to fail for sure. I kept telling myself it was time to just live in the now and enjoy it for what it was.

Disneyland became the place where I went to sulk in my non-scholarship worthy LSAT score and just to lament that this new dream could change my world (good or bad).  Then, it mostly just got boring and meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Life got too deep to run around and be carefree.

Disneyland has always been therapeutic for me whether I was with people or not. So it made sense to just keep getting the pass. It’s been my thinking place. I had spent many-a-day just going in to get a fancy meal at the Tratoria or going to Carsland just to sit and wait for the lights and music to go on when the sun set.

Then, Law school ended up working out. I’m knee deep in it and it just sucked me in whole. My pass expired. I didn’t have time to go in the past three or four months of being in school. If I did, it was very quick. I realized that Disneyland isn’t a place where you can get in and get out too easily. That alone takes an hour total. Getting into the parking lot, walking out, waiting for a tram, then through security and waiting in line…AND BACK AGAIN. I would have to have at least two and a half hours to spare to be able to do anything. Also, not too much changes with it.

The 60th Anniversary stuff was fun and different, but it wasn’t life changing. I suppose that sums it all up. Maybe Disneyland was my way of being in a rut and needing a distraction.

Disneyland was Walt Disney’s dream and aspiration, but it wasn’t (and would never be) mine. Plus, I’m 30 so I’m supposed to know what I want and how to get it at this point.

My professors keep saying “we’re supposed to tell you not to change and to be caring, optimistic people all the way through.” Key words, “supposed to tell you.”

But let me tell you. Law School is NO JOKE. You think you know, but you have no idea. I don’t sleep much, I hardly have time to eat regular meals, I’m always a bit grumpy/moody and knowing that you are smart is such a blessing and curse.

On top of all of that, the very essence of knowing what the law is, how it works and the law community consists of changes your perspective of life. It’s done that in a way that going to the Philippines did. It’s such a crazy thing to follow God wherever he takes you. I still can’t believe I’m doing this and I know a lot of people weren’t all about it when I first mentioned that this is what I was going to do next.

But such is life and so on and so on. I’m not going to change this blog into some personal thing where I talk about being a Law student because that would be boring and it would sound so pretentious.  I’m going to try to keep it light and just share my tiny adventures. I’ve got one last final Monday and then two weekends to do something other than school. I’m planning to check out Universal Hollywood (Wizarding World of Harry Potter). So that might show up here.

I’ve been trying some fun new skin care products. I’m all about local businesses. I’ve been experimenting with subscription entertainment (music, tv, ect) services. PLUS, my job takes me all over Riverside County. So I’ve been meeting all kinds of new people and trying all kinds of mom and pop food places.

Here’s to hoping I still have the time, energy and passion to keep writing. Here’s to hoping my readers will keep reading.

 

 

Free Things: Anti-Stink

This is one of the craziest “free things” situations I have ever been party to. I have said it before and I will say it again, people love to give me things. Maybe it’s because I’m a lady, maybe it’s because I’m not afraid to ask or maybe it’s because I really do look and act like a naive child sometimes. I’m not complaining. Bring it on. I could ride this wave forever.

Today’s totally free gift came from THE UK from a complete stranger. Oh yeah, you heard that right. THE UNITED KINGDOM! Here’s the story:

I am a big fan of Lush Cosmetics, mainly because I have a lot of weird skin issues. I have always had eczema, dry scalp (misdiagnosed as dandruff) and adult acne. Also, lately I have developed some new allergies and have become more sensitive to artificial fragrances. And, I learned that certain fragrance additives in lotions and soaps will cause eczema to flare up. Living in California means hard water, blazing sun and occasional harsh winter will do crazy things to your skin.

One of the most annoying issues that I deal with is (sorry in advanced) that the last time I used deodorant/anti-perspirant in high school, I developed cysts. It was very painful and uncomfortable. Not to mention, all of those scary articles about how you NEED to let your body sweat. Blocking it from doing that can lead to health issues. If not cancer (which is caused by everything apparently), then I will tell you…you CAN develop cysts. Basically, you are blocking a natural function of your body that has the potential to cause bad things to happen. If you are a traditionalist and have spent the majority of your life using deodorant with aluminum..then congratulations. I however, have had my issues and have spent my adulthood researching natural alternatives to commonly used chemicals because I’m neurotic and know too much about too much.

All that being said, I know others like myself that have felt like they want to use non-aluminum deodorant that WORKS and will not leave them soggy (for lack of a better word). There is nothing more embarrassing than experimenting with natural deodorants and the consequences of them not working- at the moment when you need them the most. No one wants to spend too much money on something you need every single day of your life from puberty and on either.

I will save you the horror stories of weird deodorant paste, falling in love with Adidas non-aluminum with Cotton absorbent technology (which no longer exists), irritation caused from aluminum deodorant detoxing your armpits and the infamous, miracle CRYSTAL deodorant. I mean come on. Is it supposed to tell you your future before or after you rub it in? I’m pretty sure if it did, it would tell you that you’re doing to stink, go broke and feel like an idiot very soon.

The one thing that I have used in the past that has been successful, is Lush Cosmetics deodorant. Not all of them are winners. They don’t all work and some have a smell that you might like less than B.O. Like I mentioned before, your skin might do weird things once you switch over and they detox from the chemicals they were regularly exposed to. This should raise a red flag about what it has been doing to your body. As of now, they make two powders (Guv’ner and The Greeench), one solid bar for sensitive skin (Aromaco) and one combo solid/powder bar (T’ao).

Once upon a time, there was one called Coconut Deodorant Powder. It smelled so good, I wanted to eat it. It was made with coconut cream grated, coconut milk and coconut oil, cornstarch, tapioca powder ect. All of the ingredients are very gentle, absorbent and moisturizing for the skin. I used it for about two years and then they retired it. It doesn’t technically exist anymore.

I have tried so many other things (see above), nothing works that well without frequent reapplication and most make you smell like a hippy (if you’re into that kind of thing). So sadly, I had been forced to look elsewhere and make due with what I found online.Schmidt’s deodorant paste has been one of my favorites.

Ever since Coconut Deodorant by Lush expired, I often mentioned to the sales people, the Twitter account and on Facebook that I loved it and missed it. All just because I figured maybe one day they would bring it back. I believe it has been around two, maybe three years since they stopped making it. Lush products expire because they are made of all natural products, so you can’t just look it up and buy it on Amazon.

Last weekend, I was told by an employee that there is a thing called the Lush Kitchen in the UK that makes  a small batch of very limited edition products every two days. He said they had JUST made Coconut deodorant powder the other day, but I had just missed it. It gave me hope and then killed that hope. I looked up their Facebook page and once again, mentioned that I liked the product and just wanted to mention that I would love it if it came back one day. They sent me a message asking me to send my address so that they could notify me if they decided to make it again. I thought sending my snail mail to be notified of a product release was weird, but hey..I’m a trusting person.

Then, I went on E-bay and found a couple people selling it for $18.00 each. I bought one because I knew it would last me a while and if I could only have it one more time, I thought I would take advantage of that situation.

Then, today..my mom said I had a package. I thought it was the product I had purchased from E-Bay. Low and behold..TWO FREE BOTTLES OF LUSH COCONUT DEODORANT with a lovely card saying it was a gift. The shipping alone, would have been $26.00. The deodorant is $9.00 each (not including tax). If I had purchased it, it would have costed me almost $50.00.

I know it sounds a bit over exaggerated to say that this was a high note of my week (so far), but it is definitely one of the most unusual free thing situations I have experienced in my life. I have to laugh because it’s so small and not essential to the deeper things in life, but God surely has a sense of humor.