Categories
Music

Walk Me Home Above Water

Walk me home in the dead of night

I can’t be alone with all this on my mind

So say you’ll stay with me tonight

‘Cause there is so much wrong going on outside

P!nk, Walk Me Home

This refrain really resonates with me. Because, when I occasionally have sleepless nights, my mind is racing with thousands of different thoughts and beating myself up about things that have already happened or comparing myself to people and blaming myself for not being at the same point in life that they are when I know I probably could be. I can’t be alone on nights like this, and all I want is a member of my family of choice to climb into bed with me and hold me. I try to hug myself sometimes, or cover up with my blankets, but it’s not the same.

Yeah my life is what I’m fighting for

Can’t part the sea

Can’t reach the shore

And my voice becomes the driving force

I won’t let this pull me overboard

God keep my head above water

Don’t let me drown

It gets harder

I’ll meet you there at the altar

as I fall down to my knees

Don’t let me drown

Don’t let me drown

Avril Lavigne, Head Above Water

As I was listening to “Head Above Water” this morning, I noticed similarities with “Walk Me Home”. Both songs are about survival, maybe more specifically not wanting to be alone. Wanting someone to be by your side to help you fight through whatever life throws at you.

Definitely two songs I need right now.

Categories
Podcasts

Monopoly: Podcast Edition

spotify.com

Last month, I came across this snippet as part of the Daily Rundown on LinkedIn. And It made me really mad. Because, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had issues with podcasts.

One time, my Apple Podcasts library deleted all the podcasts I’d been listening to. Sometimes, the app crashes for no apparent reason. And sometimes, Apple wipes out old episodes when I haven’t listened to them yet. I don’t know why that happens either, but it’s annoying.

Now, Spotify has bought another podcast network, Parcast. They’d already bought Gimlet, which had one of my favorite podcasts on it, Crimetown. They put the trailer and the first episode of season 2 on Apple Podcasts, but the rest of it is exclusively on Spotify.

I haven’t listened to it. Why should I have to download a separate app just to listen to one podcast? It’s not fair. I know it’s probably wishful thinking on my part, but why can’t people have access to everything no matter what podcast app they choose to use? I know Spotify probably wants more people to use the platform so it can make more money, but that doesn’t mean they get to have a monopoly on podcasts and podcast networks.

I know Spotify doesn’t own everything right now, but it sure seems headed in that direction. And I’m pretty sure – if my memory of history class over the years serves me – that the United States has anti-trust laws, which mean monopolies are illegal. All I have to say is Spotify better quit while it’s ahead.

Categories
Movies

The Best of Enemies (2019)

imdb.com

Based on Osha Gray Davidson’s book, The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South, The Best of Enemies stars Taraji P. Henson as civil rights activist Ann Atwater and Sam Rockwell as Exalted Cyclops of North Carolina’s Klu Klux Klan, C.P. Ellis. The movie tells the unlikely story of how the two became friends during the debate over the integration of North Carolina’s schools in 1971.

It was an intense drama, to be sure, but it also had a surprising amount of humor.  Taraji P. Henson really knows how to pull off being simultaneously serious and funny.  The music in the movie, while excellent, was a bit jarring sometimes.  It didn’t always match what was happening.

This is also a tale of redemption. At the beginning of the movie, C.P. Ellis was one of the most loyal members of the Klu Klux Klan. He wouldn’t serve black people at his gas station, even though he knew they would bring more business. Once he and Ann Atwater are selected to lead the debate about school integration, however, he begins to see that black people aren’t inherently bad or inferior. And when his friends in the Klan still carry out their racist deeds, he stands up for the black community.

This movie is an excellent example of how two people from different communities can come together and set aside their differences. It’s definitely a movie that will make the audience think about the extent of racism, because the movie shoves it right in the audience’s face. There’s no ignoring it. But there is a lesson to be learned: nothing is as simple as it seems.

Categories
Music

An Evening with Kristin Chenoweth

mayoarts.org

Kristin Chenoweth might be best known for her role on Broadway as Glinda in Wicked. However, her career also spans decades of television and voiceover work.

Last Friday, April 12, she performed at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, Virginia, as part of the opening night of the Virginia Arts Festival. She was accompanied by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra under the direction of visiting conductor Rob Fisher, whom she has previously worked with on Broadway.

Most of the songs Chenoweth sang were from Broadway. And most of them were unfamiliar, but that didn’t matter. Because although Chenoweth is only 4’11”, she’s a powerhouse. It’s amazing that such a powerful voice can come from someone so small in stature. She could sing the phonebook and it would be beautiful.

Kristin Chenoweth is also spunky and hilarious. She made the members of the audience feel as if they were her friends. When she finally sang “Popular” from Wicked toward the end of the show, she actually encouraged the audience to take out their phones and record because “I know you’re all doing it anyway!”

Chenoweth closed out the evening with “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen (during which she was accompanied by students from the Governor’s School for the Arts) and Elvis Presley’s “How Great Thou Art”.

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Uncategorized

No direct route

abc.go.com

American Idol season 2 on ABC started recently, and it got me thinking. If someone wants to be a singer, they can try out for American Idol. If someone wants to be an actor, they can start out in local productions and eventually get an agent or something. How come there’s no structure like this for writers?

Granted, I don’t even know how a writing contest would work. Because I can’t turn around a story in a week. It takes me multiple weeks, or even months, to finish something and make it just the way I like it. My imagination doesn’t work on demand. As much as I’d like to, I can’t just sit down and write all day.

But it would be nice to get a publishing deal from something. Because there’s no guarantee I’ll ever get published. I like to think I’m halfway decent at writing, but my personal opinion doesn’t mean anything; I’m naturally biased.

I’d love to have more people read my work and gives me notes. I thoroughly enjoy any chance to improve my writing, although I don’t always agree with all the notes I get.

Categories
Movies

Dumbo (2019)

imdb.com

Dumbo is the story of a young elephant that helps breathe new life into a traveling circus with his ability to fly thanks to his unusually large ears. But not everything about the circus is as bright and shiny as it seems on the surface.

This being one of his less frightening movies, scraggly and eccentric genius Tim Burton transports his audience to 1919, one year after the end of World War I. Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) has come home from the war to rejoin his children at the circus, only to find out that his act had been dismantled by Max Medici (Danny Devito) in his absence. So he takes care of the elephants instead.

What is it with Disney characters and mommy issues? Hardly any characters in any movies (including this one) have mothers. They may have mother figures, but their actual mothers are usually dead.

When Holt’s children realize that Dumbo can fly, all anyone else sees is a bunch of dollar signs. Dumbo does help restore the circus to its former glory, but people’s greed doesn’t stop there. They just want more and more and more. After all, money makes the world go round, doesn’t it?

Beyond greed, some people are just pure evil, no matter how charming they are on the surface. Michael Keaton’s character, V.A. Vandevere, is one of these people, even though he is reminiscent of Sam Champion (former chief meteorologist for ABC News, and a really nice guy).

At its core, Dumbo is a story about learning to believe in yourself. You don’t need to hide behind anything special to do what you are meant to do.

This movie may be emotional roller coaster, but it’s definitely worth seeing.

Categories
Music

Rachel’s Broadway counterpart

I’ve written before about Rachel Platten and how her music is important to me. Maybe I’ve gone a little overboard. I’m not ashamed of it though. Because, at the end of the day, her music isn’t just fun and games. It serves a very important purpose: It makes me think about my life.

Rachel’s the backdrop for my highs and lows. She helps me process my feelings. She seems to have a song for whatever I’m feeling in a given moment. It’s almost like she and I are the same person.

However, Rachel Platten isn’t the only person who can make me think. Alexander Hamilton really blows my mind sometimes. Or maybe I should say Lin-Manuel Miranda. Yeah, that makes more sense, doesn’t it?

During my senior year in college, I had a lot on my mind that I was trying to cope with. And the Hamilton soundtrack – ahem, I mean original cast recording, sorry – seemed to be a giant metaphor for all of it. I could find something in almost every song that related to how I felt. Its relevance to my life was almost freaky. Two years later, it still means a lot to me, even though I have yet to see the play.

Rachel Platten and Lin-Manuel Miranda may not run in the same circles, but both of them mean a lot to me.

Categories
Movies

More Mary Poppins?

When Mary Poppins Returns ended, I left the theater hoping there would be a sequel. However, I made peace with the fact that there probably wouldn’t be another movie. The original is iconic, and the arc of the franchise felt complete. I didn’t see any storylines in Mary Poppins Returns that could be expanded into a sequel.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I found this article from The Daily Wire. Rob Marshall isn’t saying there will be a sequel, but he definitely seems to be thinking about it:

Should Mary Poppins return again, according to Marshall, she would be returning at a time of another great social movement: LGBTQ rights.
“Our movie takes place in the ’30s. But if it were to take place now, that’s exactly what it should be,” Marshall said. “I understand so deeply what it’s like to be on the outskirts and not feel like you are worthy. And I will say that kind of passion to explore acceptance in life is something that’s so important.”

Paul Bois, The Daily Wire

Like I said, I’m all for the idea of a sequel, but the theme of LGBTQ rights really threw me for a loop. Not that I think it’s a bad idea, I’m just wondering how Marshall would pull it off. Maybe he would have one of Michael Banks’s children come out as gay or something similar and Mary Poppins would help the family (and everyone else, for that matter) navigate the situation and understand what it means to be [insert identity here]? That doesn’t seem like it could turned into an adventure as magical as ones in the first two movies.  

But maybe I’m overthinking this. And anyway, what do I know? I’m sure someone somewhere will be able to come up with something. Obviously, that person won’t be me.

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Uncategorized

Creativity v Suggestion

This post was inspired by something my mother said. I don’t remember it verbatim, but it was something like this:

I had an idea of something for you to blog about, but I can’t remember it.

If she had remembered it, I’m sure I would’ve listened respectfully and at least considered the idea. All the same, it really ticked me off.

You may or may not have noticed, but I took a few days off from blogging because I was close – dangerously close – to running out of topics and having to wrack my brain for something to write about and post for that day, as opposed to having the posts scheduled in advance.

After hitting the reset button for a few days, I’ve thought of more ideas to discuss in my post, this being one of them: If someone tells me what to write, it won’t be as exciting as if I had thought of the idea myself. If I think of an idea myself, it’s exciting, so I will put more time and effort into it because I care about it.

Another suggestion that I’ve received is that I should blog about things related to Cerebral Palsy or just generally blog about things that other people are interested in. It’s sort of the same issue as I described above. Plus, if I’m always writing for a specific audience, it takes away from my creativity and ability to expand on an established format. Because if I write for a specific audience, that audience is going to expect a certain product (format and content of a blog post). If I were to break from said hypothetical product, I don’t think it would go over well.

I should probably add that I don’t blog about my disability because I don’t want it to define me. I’ve never let it define me. I’ve mentioned it in passing on this blog before, but that’s because I’m trying to talk about something related to it.

I’m happy with the audience I do have here, because it means that people are interested in my topics and what I have to say about them. So, thank you.

Reading

Occasionally, my mother will show me a newspaper article she thinks I should read. sometimes the topic is actually interesting, but most of the time it’s not. When it is interesting but I don’t read it right away, she says I’m not interested. I could go on, but I’ll spare you the drama. Because what I’m trying to get at is that people might mean well when they suggest reading material or topics to write about, but if I’m not interested, it isn’t going to happen.

Categories
Music

Thoughts on Apple Music

cnet.com

When Apple Music was first introduced a few years ago, I thought it was stupid. Why pay $10/month when I already paid for every song individually? It seemed pointless.

My attitude changed while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, when a friend of a friend showed me how it works. When I got back from vacation, I thought about the free trial for a few days. I figured if I didn’t want it after the trial, I could cancel it. There was no reason not to sign up.

And, I have to say, I really enjoy Apple Music. I’ve been using it for almost a month, and I already know that I don’t want to cancel it. I can listen to any song without having to download it to my phone. And that’s a lot of songs. Apple Music grants access to everything under the sun. Well, at least most of the songs I’ve been looking for.

One of my favorite things about it is that I now have access to lyrics. So whenever I don’t catch the words, I can look them up. Or when I want to write about some of the lyrics, I don’t have to recall them from memory and risk getting them wrong.

I also enjoy the playlists curated by Apple, because I love finding new music to listen to and songs that inspire my writing. It’s also fun to create my own playlists and see what my friends are listening to.

Apple Music is so much more than I thought it was, and I’m very happy to be proven wrong.