Trapped in the Bathroom for 30 Minutes

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help me, R Kelly

FROM THE DESK OF: Deo

The doorknob to my bathroom wouldn’t turn so I did what any man would do: I turned it harder. I had just finished showering so I was still wet, eager to get out of the bathroom and make coffee. I turned as hard as I could, because you know, brute strength always solves problems—but then the damn knob just… fell. Now I didn’t have a way of turning the door. I was trapped in the bathroom, R-Kelly style. Continue reading “Trapped in the Bathroom for 30 Minutes”

Leisure Reading and the Inquisitive Itch

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All three of these will be on my nightstand tonight. I may or may not read these simultaneously.

FROM THE DESK OF: Nina

There was a pretty extended period of my life, not too long ago, during which the joy of reading was completely forgotten. Probably when college hit and all of the required reading one had to do took away all of the fun of it. Curse you, Xeroxed Course Readers Stuffed With (Mostly) Super Boring Papers…

But now that I’ve been away from school for awhile, I’m beginning to get what I’d like to call the Inquisitive Itch: a yearning for learning (hah, that rhymes) and an overwhelming sense of curiosity for how the world works, what motivates its overall functioning, how humans interact, and what our purpose in life truly is.

Now, that might mean it may be time to head back to school – that’s a point of discussion for another time, I think – but in the interim, I’ve decided that picking up leisure reading again will probably be my best bet in satiating my desire to keep learning and growing my understanding of how to make the most of my life.

Here are some books I’ve picked up recently that I’m hoping will scratch that Inquisitive Itch.

You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero.

Now, I know I mentioned this one before in another post, and I admit: I still haven’t finished it yet. (Life and work gets in the way, and it never seems like there are enough hours in the day, amirite?) But every so often, when I’m not catching up on work or exhausted from the day, I’ll take a minute to read a chapter or two before bed. I’m about to start Chapter 21 of 27, and it is called “Millions of Mirrors”; looks like it’s about how the people you surround yourself with reflect your level of self-love. Whoa.

The Float Tank Cure, by Shane Stott.

Earlier this year, Deo, Aiza, and I all tried this thing called floating, which is a form of therapeutic sensory deprivation intended to enable the deepest form of relaxation. TL;DR: you step in a tank of salt water and float there in the darkness until your mind just… wanders. After my first visit, I remember feeling light, refreshed, and capable of handling whatever life threw my way. I definitely wanted to learn more about the process. So I recently picked up this book by Shane Stott, a guy who kick-started the DIY isolation tank to practice float therapy, hoping to get a better understanding of the process and its full benefits. Based on the table of contents, it looks like his book The Float Tank Cure explains a little bit more about how to utilize float therapy to reduce anxiety and depression. I’m in.

And last, but certainly not least…

The Book of Joy, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams.

When I came across a Facebook video that Time Magazine posted of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop of South Africa Desmond Tutu hanging out, I was like, wuuuuuuut I need to figure out what these two wise humans are talking about. Watching the video further, I found out they had written a book about their time spent together celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday and exchanging stories about their experiences discovering joy in the face of adversity. The Book of Joy recounts this incredible encounter, and I’m really excited to learn a bit more about how to shift my perspective when I’m feeling like life’s getting a little tough.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to dig my head in all three of these books at once. The reading ADHD is so real.

 

Moving: What I Lost, What I Took

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I moved over 20 times. The city I call home (for now). 

FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

Inspired by The Last Thing, Or Song For When They Take It All Away by Patrick Rosal

With every move from city to new city (and back), borough to new borough (and back) inevitably, I lose a part of me. With the start and end of a relationship, inevitably I lose some part of me. Real tangible items and intangible pieces of me disappear from one apartment to the next. Occasionally, a memory triggers and I find myself searching unpacked boxes trying to recover some lost part of me from two, three or maybe even ten apartments ago.

Continue reading “Moving: What I Lost, What I Took”

Confession: I Tried To Buy A Pair of Yeezys

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A Yeezy Boost is a pricey Adidas sneaker designed by Kanye West.

FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

I am not a huge fan of Kanye West. Generally, I like his music however I lack any interest at all for his over-the-top personality and self-absorption. I don’t care for his excessive lifestyle or his floating concert stage or anything else connected to the Kanye brand. While I may not be a Kanye believer, I do strongly believe in turning profits and positive returns on investments. Thus this weekend, I entered the crazy world of Kanye hype to secure a pair of Yeezys.

Continue reading “Confession: I Tried To Buy A Pair of Yeezys”

Daydreams / A Soundtrack

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FROM THE DESK OF: Nina

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve known myself to be two things: frequently introspective and highly imaginative. Separately, these qualities have the ability to pave the way for progress and innovation; but in my experience, I think the combination of the two proved to be a little too powerful for my wee little mind to handle at times. As a child, my brain was filled with a ton of very theatrical, anxiety-inducing hypothetical scenarios that often kept me paralyzed with irrational fears. If I walk past a mirror in the early morn, will I see more than just my reflection? When I turn off the light, is there someone watching me that I don’t see? Will I be attacked by Jaws if I swim alone in my backyard pool? The possibilities for living nightmares were endless.

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On the flip side, being “in my mind” all the time also led me to daydream about some sort of hidden superhero within me, casually kicking a** and taking names during the snack breaks of my otherwise mediocre life. Why yes, I can be the next U.S. Olympic gymnast, despite only being in gymnastics for two months! Busting out some secret kung fu moves I didn’t even know I had before? Sure, why not! My brain was (and I guess, still is) a weird one.

With all of those crazy ideas running through my mind, I often wonder what soundtrack would play in the background of these awesomely epic scenes. Here are some of those songs, and some potential scenes to go along with them.

(I should note that this “movie” is not one that is thoroughly crafted with all plot holes covered. Let’s be real: I live in L.A. and have seen enough real-life and cinematic drama on the streets here, but I am by no means an “industry person” who can just whip up an epic, cohesive storyline with the snap of a finger.)

OPENING CREDITS: “The Hop” by Radio Citizen

I first heard this song when a friend introduced it to me in high school, and ever since then I’ve always considered this my ultimate opening credits song. The scene in which it would be used starts with abrupt flashes of the Brooklyn Bridge, and when the song truly rings in, the camera would zoom in on an old-school NYC taxi, then switch POV to inside the cab. A girl wearing sunglasses is shown driving the cab, which seems to be stolen from somewhere. She doesn’t seem to care, though; she just wears an expression of 100% certified DGAF as she drives on.

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OPENING SCENE: “River” by Bishop Briggs

I picture this song being used in a scene involving some serious mic-dropping dialogue. This might be a flashback scene, with our sunglasses girl and some unknown male. Sunglasses Girl – let’s call her Evie – is ruggedly beautiful: she has short, shaggy, wavy hair; wears her father’s motorcycle jacket, and stomps about the entire movie in her signature pair of worn-in boots. The unknown male is, well, insignificant… except for the fact that Evie royally schools him with a witty mic-drop comment in response to his condescending remarks about her. After Evie wins the convo, she pounds her rye-and-tonic, turns around, and walks away. Evie: 1 ; Unknown Male: 0. “River” is playing on the jukebox in the background, and intensifies at the chorus as Evie walks away.

FLASHBACK FLASHBACK SCENE: “Renegades” by X Ambassadors

This would be used in a montage scene showing further flashbacks of Evie and the unknown male hitting the town, engaging in some sort of heist-like behavior. Unknown male turns out to be Evie’s former partner-in-crime.

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PRESENT-DAY SCENE: “Money Trees” by Kendrick Lamar

Scene flashes to present-day, where Evie is driving down the 10 in L.A. in her old-school taxi cab, which she’s completely souped up and turned into a convertible. She’s wearing the same sunglasses she was wearing in the beginning sequence. Eventually, she pulls up in front of some historic building in DTLA and walks inside. (I don’t know how she finds free parking in the front, but this is a movie so I guess that doesn’t need to be explained.) She talks to some large shady-looking dude who is actually wearing shades. The dialogue is somewhat cryptic, but apparently information is exchanged between Evie and Shady Shades.

PRESENT-DAY MONTAGE SCENE: “Picasso Baby” by Jay Z

This is another montage of Evie single-handedly executing a series of heists seamlessly, kicking some royal butt and taking a long list of names. This is what she and Shady Shades were cryptically discussing in the previous scene, but for some reason, you don’t get the feeling that this is a bad act. She goes back to Shady Shades’ headquarters with the loot. Their conversation is less cryptic now, and you learn that the heists are all part of some sort of Robin Hood gesture, but haven’t quite figured it out yet.

NIGHT CHASE SCENE: “Hate or Glory” by Gesaffelstein / “Favorite Star” by Quadron

*cue “Hate or Glory”*

It’s dusk, and Evie leaves Shady Shades’ meeting place. As she’s driving, she notices a car following her closely behind.

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Note: Evie is not Ryan Gosling. But she looks into the mirror like he does.

She tries to lose the car, eventually gets out of hers, and runs into a bar near Spring Street.”Favorite Star” is blaring from the speakers as Evie weaves in and out of the crowd. We still don’t see the person chasing her, but the camera angles make it clear to us that someone is still chasing Evie.

*cuts back to “Hate or Glory”*

This turns into some high-speed chase through Downtown L.A., into the Arts District, and eventually ends on the L.A. River, underneath the Sixth Street Bridge. The driver’s identity is shrouded by darkness up until this point. He steps out of the car, and it is revealed that he is Unknown Male from the beginning. His name is Joe.

Evie and Joe discuss some things, iron out some misunderstandings, argue, and somehow it ends with Joe now ending the conversation with a mic-dropping comeback to her snarky dialogue. Joe drives away, and Evie is left there on the concretized L.A. River, stunned. Evie: 1 ; Joe: 1.

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INTROSPECTIVE MONTAGE SCENE: “It Is What It Is” by Blood Orange

Apparently I really like montage scenes. This song would be used in yet another one, in which Evie drives on until the sun rises and reflects on her relationship with Joe, her role in her Robin Hood heists, her purpose in life, all of the dramatic baloney. She has some sort of personal revelation, and boom! this is where things turn in the movie.

… Aaaaand here is a whole chunk of the movie that I haven’t figured out, nor is there a soundtrack for this unknown part. Sorry. But eventually, all lead to…

END CREDITS: “Dark Necessities” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers

This is the song that ends up playing as the credits roll. And it makes perfect sense. (Not right now, but in the hypothetical movie it would.)

MOTIF: “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin

I see this song being worked in as a motif in the movie. Initially, it would be playing in Evie’s cab when “The Hop” fades out. And then different parts of it would be snuck into a scene here and there with different renditions, and eventually, the finale would be worked into the climax of this movie (whatever that might be), which I envision as one that is jam-packed with action. The song would be a symbol of Evie’s personality: refined yet street-smart, classy yet ready to get her hands dirty when necessary, explosive yet introverted, unpredictable yet guided by her own moral compass.

… Now that I look at this, this would make for a pretty corny movie with several plot holes. Good thing I don’t make movies for a living. In any case, here’s the playlist, if you want to hear what this cheesy piece of work would sound like.



 

Farewell My (So-Called) NYC Edge

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How NYC has changed over the years. National September 11 Memorial.

FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

Ten years ago I moved home to LA after living in New York City for almost six years. Transitioning to a life here in California was difficult. I didn’t want to give up my hard-earned skill sets which New Yorkers posses such as riding public transportation, walking (all the time), hailing a taxi, the hustle, bar/night life and even the sample sale battle moves. Admittedly, over these past years I have repeatedly been that annoying former New Yorker who always made somewhat obnoxious comparisons arguing New York City was far superior than LA. I was that annoying person who desperately wanted to ride LA city buses and subways to get around just to prove I didn’t need a car. I was that annoying person who complained about last call at 1:30am where in New York City, I could party to the sun came up. Continue reading “Farewell My (So-Called) NYC Edge”

Magic Art of Closet De-clutter

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Magical closet cleaning?

FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

For the last few months I set out to achieve one major OCD seasonal goal: clean out my closet. Over many many weeks, I slowly read (or more accurately skimmed with intention), The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. In summary, Kondo suggests during the act of ‘tidying up,’ ask yourself whether it be a book or a piece of clothing “Does this spark joy?”

Initially, I didn’t buy the whole ‘joy’ idea with I looked at my H&M tank top from two years ago. Seriously, would folding clothes spark a joy inside me? Using the Kondo method, I identified what sparks my joy and ultimately, I practiced an exercise of self-discovery.

Continue reading “Magic Art of Closet De-clutter”