To Taylor, Love Tasha

Hello. We meet again.

(Except probably not because it’s probably weird that I’m in my twenties and writing posts to you and also I didn’t write this on Tumblr and I’m not in middle school, so once again I think I’ve found myself talking to the empty abyss of the interwebs.)

On the unlikely chance you read my previous open letter to you, you probably aren’t reading this one because you’ve likely been insulted by something I said before and won’t waste your time now. However! If you haven’t read it, and are reading this one, don’t go read that one. I know it’s tempting because now I’ve told you about it, but don’t. Okay, okay, fine, go ahead and read it, but just wait until I’ve made my case here. Maybe it won’t be as offensive then.

Okay, now that I’ve established I’m a crazy person, let me dive right in:

If you can’t tell, I’ve thrown all caution to the wayside. I am definitely a fan, as I think most of our generation of 20-somethings are. And though I don’t think I can truly consider myself a “Swiftie” (and I think many others would agree) I am still full of admiration for you. I am a fan not because of your music (though I do enjoy listening) but because of you as a person.

There are many, many faces and personalities in the limelight. And having lived in the land of Hollywood, though for a considerably short time, I’ve crossed paths with a surprising number of these personalities. They are not all pretty (physically or otherwise) and they are not all exceptionally noteworthy for any reason other than that they somehow lucked into achieving that certain level of fame and money that brings automatic admiration. You, however, have not only taken your creative and artistic career to a new level of entrepreneurship and business-savvy mogul-ness, but have also managed to become an infinite source of genuine kindness, love, and support to your fans and pretty much all people in general. And in a world full of judgement, hate, and desperate attempts at “other”ing, we all need a little more love. Thank you for showing that to us, and to the next generation.

I want to say I’m sorry for misunderstanding your fight against music streaming. I was aware that your purpose for taking your music off of Spotify was in protest for the lack of quality compensation for artists. Which I 100% support, no question. My argument was simply that most listeners cannot afford to buy every single song or album that they love to listen to, which is why streaming is such a break-through in distribution, not only for music fans, but for new musicians needing to grow a fan base. Music streaming allows listeners access to hundreds of thousands of artists that they might not have the means to discover otherwise.

Thanks to your open letter to Apple, though, I realize now that these two arguments do not necessarily correlate opposite sides. In fact, the only way these two arguments connect is through a mutual center: the streaming distributor. And I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that Apple has the means by which to get the streaming service right. It is up to the distributor to provide fair compensation to artists while also providing an affordable service to listeners so that both sides can enjoy the mutual benefits of beautiful art.

I love music. It speaks to me in ways that not even writing can. And I love discovering new artists and music, and becoming part of a fan base. Music streaming gives me the opportunity to learn about and support artists that I otherwise would not know, because I live on a very tight budget working towards my own career goals and dreams, just as you have. But I see now the opportunity for this distribution method to grow while still compensating artists fairly and not crushing consumers’ wallets.

So thank you for being awesome. I hope that one day we can be friends on a high-five basis.

Yours truly,

-tlc

P.S. My prayers are with you and your family. I hope that your mother is well. I know all too well the experience of a mother with cancer. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. Yet another reason to admire your strength.

Five Great Finds That Make Me Really Happy

I was going to spend my evening writing a post explaining my opinions on a political issue that makes me very angry, but I decided instead to spend the evening having some fun by pooling together a few of the things that make me happy and help me get through my day. Because clearly, the constant turmoil of our political situation keeps me in a pretty angry state most of the time…and sometimes it makes me hangry. Oh, and don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll charm the pants off you with my political rant in a later post.

But for now, here are five things that make me happy:

  1. The artist Pogo. He makes songs out of autotuned clips from your favorite movies. It’s amazing, and they’re great songs to write to. I’m listening to him right now. In fact, they’re great songs for every occasion: House party, chill get together, running, shopping, driving, breaking out of prison…you know, all those necessary music-accompanying tasks.
  2. The website Padmapper. They’re tagline is “Making apartment hunting suck less.” And they really do. They really do. On padmapper, you’re able to search apartments in the city/location of your choice according to whatever criteria you have: # of bedrooms, bathrooms, price range, etc. The site pulls together listings from a number of other housing sites, including craigslists, rent.com, and (if you live in LA, Westside Rentals).
  3. The photo editor Pixlr. I have photoshop and sometimes I still choose to use this free online photo editor instead. For a non-techy like me, it’s a user-friendly web application that allows you to edit photos in three different applications: A full editor (similar to photoshop, but on a smaller scale), a moderate editor with pre-set filters (think a cross between photoshop and instagram), and a filter editor (similar to instagram).
  4. F.lux is an app that adjusts the color of your computer and/or phone/tablet screen to act more like natural sunlight, so that if–like me–you are up late browsing the interwebs, your brain doesn’t get confused and think it’s still daylight out. That way, it’s easier to fall asleep and stuff. Just read about it.
  5. Tea Tree Oil: I have pretty oily skin, but I’m also really self conscious not only about the chemicals I’m putting on my skin, but also about the cost of said chemicals (gotta stay practical here). So, about two years ago, I decided that using bar soap instead of a bottled gel would not only be more natural (if I went with one that had natural ingredients) it would also be cheaper. And then I found tea tree oil, and my life was made. Tea tree oil (and black charcoal as well) are great skin cleansers, and a bar of soap lasts me three times as long as a bottle of shower gel, and is way cheaper than a facial cleanser. Yay for poor people solutions!

And that’s it. Nothing else in the world makes me happy. JK, a lot of things make me happy but this is a short list to remind myself that there are many, many positive things in this world. I hope you’ve discovered something you think is awesome from this list, too, but if you haven’t, I hope you at least take away the idea to start making your own list. It’s good to have a list of positives to refer to when you’re down. I know it helps remind me that there are still things to appreciate about this life, and technology, and people.

Enjoy!

-tlc

A Random Open Letter to Taylor Swift

Dear Taylor,

I’m going to be straight up with you, I’ve always been skeptical of being your fan. Mainly because I’ve never really liked the idea of publicly shaming ex-partners for monetary gain. Of course, that’s a really harsh way of looking at it, and I have no idea what you’ve had to put up with in your relationships, so I’m guessing you feel justified in writing names. Also, clearly these dudes don’t mind the attention, because if they did, I think they’d be a little more wary of dating you, since they must know that being written about is part of the deal. I’ve also been skeptical ever since the “Love Story” lyric where you call yourself the scarlet letter, simply because I’m a big lit geek and I feel that reference was a bit of a stretch.

I will say that I appreciate and admire your openness about wanting to be independent and choosing to take time off from dating. I hate how Hollywood media is like an exaggerated form of high school where all anyone can do is gossip about other people’s relationships and private lives. (I say this hypocritically, since I just admitted that most of my skepticism comes from opinions about your dating life.) It’s nice to see a young woman navigate through all the BS of business and do well–even better than well, kick ass–at building a successful career and marketing herself. In that way, I think you are a great inspiration.

I also really admire how nice you are to your fans and how genuine you seem to be with everyone you meet (I say seem to be because obviously I don’t know you, so how can I really know one way or another?) and the fact that you have amazing style, yet somehow don’t let your appearance become everything about you. In my opinion, that rocks.

So, after years of skepticism, you have won me over, T-Swift. I think you would be an amazing friend (though this open letter to you may have killed any chance of you wanting to be my friend) and if there was ever a zombie apocalypse, I would definitely choose you to be a part of my zombie-killing posse. Along with J-Law, Emma Watson,  and Benedict Cumberbatch (I’m sorry, but that last name is just the most awesome, isn’t it?), of course.

P.S. I still won’t be buying 1989, though, because as much as I love Blank Space and Shake It Off, (as well as the ’80’s, and in general, any reference to the ’80’s, whether directly related or not) I am poor (like, really tight-budget, no spending on things other than necessities poor) and just can’t justify the purchase, sorry. I’m sure with your business savvy you’ve got enough stored away to make due without the profits of my purchase. I agree that arts are valuable, particularly in maintaining and fueling a sense of culture and self expression, which is vital in living a happy, healthy life, but I also think that because art is cultural, it should also be accessible, because it is so valuable it is invaluable, so I teeter on the edge of this debate. Basically I’m saying I agree that artists should be compensated fairly, but I also think that it’s unreasonable to ask consumers to spend $15 on music every time they want to listen to new music or a different artist. (Granted, if a consumer has that kind of money, then by all means, but I don’t think most of us do.) I do think pirating music is wrong, but I also like Spotify because it lets me listen to a range of talented artists, especially smaller indie artists I wouldn’t be exposed to from the radio without putting myself in debt.

I think this is a rough argument on either side, and, as usual, the consumer winds up being nothing but a tool on both ends. And that, I think, is unfortunate. However, I wish you the best of luck in standing up for what you think is right, and maybe someday when I have more money I’ll be able to enjoy the full 1989 experience.

Your new (but still slightly skeptical) fan,

tlc

This is Happening, People.

Hi there. This is my blog. Welcome.

I’ve always been terrible at transitions, so I’m just going to hop right in:

You know how you find a piece of really, REALLY good music, and it just speaks to you?  On a depth more than emotional–almost spiritual?  No? Is that just me?  Well it happens, people. It’s like finding your tunnel song (Perks of Being a Wallflower, anyone?), or hearing that swelling orchestration that just tips you over in a really emotional (spoiler if you’re not up to date on Doctor Who) theatrical scene.

Still no?  Well I’m going to make my point anyways.

See, I’ve always been a bit jealous of those dramatically orchestrated scenes in films and television–I don’t know if it’s because I can be a bit of a drama queen myself, or if it is just because I enjoy music and stories so much that I really appreciate when they come together at such perfect moments (I’m one of those that would prefer to listen to a film score over any other type of album).  I’ve always wished that I could experience the world around me and the moments in my life with as much emotional depth as I experience those moments in film and television, and frankly, I’m a little sad people don’t just have their entire lives orchestrated.

This might sound a little weird and quite random, but the idea of experiencing life in more depth has been on my mind a lot, lately. I think it’s mainly because in four months’ time I will jump off the academic diving board and enter the world of working oblivion.  Basically, I’m scared out of my mind, just like I imagine most of my friends are as well.  Honestly, how does everyone keep it together so well?  I want to tear my face off right now and just cry.

See? Just a teensy bit of drama queen.

But something I’ve also learned from emotionally-stirring orchestrated theatrical scenes is that they don’t abruptly end after the climax of the scene is over.  No, just like the falling action of a beautifully conceived piece of literary work, these songs have a resolution. And if it isn’t a completely happy one, it is at least a satisfying one.

And that’s what my graduating in four months’ time is really like. Well, here’s to hoping, at least.

But really, job searching and my future after graduation has been on my mind for quite a while now, and so I’ve been doing a bit of research, looking into the lives of people I consider to be successful and my role models, and finding out what the path of their lives has been like after college.  And you know what?  It’s helped relieve a lot of stress (though there is still plenty more to be had!) in thinking about my future.  Why? Because many-if not most-of these people started from the bottom, from scratch, nothing to loose, hardly anything to gain (at first), just like me.  Many of them didn’t have jobs waiting for them straight out of college, and lots of them still have not found a career that they have solidly settled into.  Instead, they became path-makers instead of path-takers, and have been much happier, in my opinion, for it.  Why?  Because even though they may not have a 100% steady income, or a back-up plan or job to use as a crutch, they are doing things they love.

Who are these people, you ask?  Well three that I can think of right off the top of my head are J.K. Rowling, Tina Fey, and Youtuber, Jenna Marbles.  Rowling, as is probably common knowledge at this point, was living below the poverty line while attempting to support her young daughter and herself while writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. And it took her five years to complete the first manuscript.  But she persevered, because she loved writing, and wanted to tell her story.  According to her autobiography, Bossypants, Tina Fey spent her two years after college working at a local gym, something that had nothing to do with her interests, before earning a starter position with one of the traveling improv groups that Second City in Chicago sends out all across America and working her way up through SNL and launching her career in both writing and acting.  And Jenna Marbles, as you can watch in her draw my life video, here, just seems to have drifted into all sorts of interesting things before realizing her passion in making video blogs, and hey! it paid off, so go her.

My point is, I’m really freaking out here, but I’m consoling myself in the lives of people I aspire to be like, and I hope you do the same thing.  And if not, then you can at least follow me on this journey because I’m going to be documenting it along the way, not only to hold myself accountable, but also prove to myself and others that this frightening transition period in one’s life is completely survivable, and probably not the scariest thing you will ever deal with in you entire life (unfortunately).

So meet me back here every Monday for the next (only God knows) how many months, as I try to keep things cheerful and funny, and let you in on all the little awkward moments that happen to me as I stumble through this last semester of my college life and attempt to jump gracefully into the real world.  And please excuse the giant, imaginary friends who will probably be holding my hand along the way. I promise I don’t have schizophrenia, I just really like television, and stories in general, and like to pretend that fictional characters and celebrities are my friends.

That’s normal, right?

Well, anyways, here’s to hoping.  See you next Monday.

Yours truly,

tlc