October 2, 2017

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

-Winston Churchill

We must not let the bad guys win. We must not let them instill fear in our spirit to the point we fear doing the simplest tasks. We must stay strong and have courage to show the bad guys we will not be taken down easily. We will prevail.

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July 22, 2017

How then did it work out, this? How did one judge people, think of them? How did one add up this and that and conclude that it was liking one felt, or disliking?

-Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Any time I see Virginia Woolf I can’t help but sing Edward Albee’s jingle. ‘Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf, Virgina Woolf, Virgina Woolf…?” xD

#ComeyHearing

I am not one for politics and told myself I would not involve Zelly & Ol Hem’s with political posts. This though, one can argue, isn’t necessarily about politics. It’s about history, live in the making.

One does not usually see a private citizen as a Senate hearing, but never say never. Ex-FBI Director James Comey, who served under three presidents in senior law enforcement positions, was fired by President Trump last month for possibly, though it’s looking more like “definitely” knowing too much about the Russian involvement in the 2016 US Presidential election.

Again, I am not political nor have a Political Science degree, but I am a history nerd. It’s been a long time since something with this scale of scandalous has caught the attention of the public.

There are many conspiracies wandering around if Trump silenced Comey prior to the hearing. Judging by Comey’s body language and his answers, he is providing his sincere honesty. His answers are a sigh of relief for it is clear cut and the truth, but at the same time troubling. Sure we won’t get the full, 100% information as he continuously mentions some topics should be saved for the classified hearing, but he isn’t giving BS. He’s providing everything he knows and even having a little fun as seen by his smiles when he and the Senate joke from time to time.

The whole thing is uneasy but sits well on the mind. It’s confusing but exciting and scary but full of bravery. I don’t know how else to explain it.

Watch the #ComeyHearing here with the New York Times.

Happy viewing and don’t forget to raise your cuvfefe glasses full of coffee (or vodka). Can’t wait until photos from the hearing circulate. Powerful images from a historic and troubling moment in time.

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Doug Mills, New York Times

Friendships Age Too

Dear Alysha,

I am in my early 20s and you are SO RIGHT! I graduated a year before my friends. When we were all in college, it was pretty easy to navigate the lag times between classes to grab a coffee and have girl talk (or guy talk if you count the dudes). Then I get my first big-girl job and it’s the robotic tendency of the 8-5 life. No more 2 PM coffee breaks and even a single thought of sticking around downtown during rush hour makes me cringe. Now that we are all on the same playing field of finding/working in the big people’s world, things will be easier to manage. šŸ˜€ Love the post and love the truth you put into it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bug my friends about making a road trip xD

Sincerely,

A new fan of your blog.

*****P.S. Alysha: you have a category called “Life as a Texan”. Where in the Lone Star State are you at?

Alysha Kaye

Everyone always talks about romantic relationships and how difficult they areā€“the compromising, the settling, how hard it is to be single, how hard it is to be married, blah blah blah.

No one ever really spends too much time gabbing about how difficult friendships can be. Friendships are supposed to be easy, right? Comfortable, lasting longer than any romantic relationship youā€™ve ever had. I guess that used to be true.

Somewhere around Real Adult Life (not Fake Adult Life), you realize how tough friendships can actually be. Hangouts no longer consist of last minute happy hours that turn into long, carb-filled dinners that turn into late-night pillow talk and accidental sleepovers. Hangouts now have to be planned weeks in advance. Alcohol and carbs are out because someone is on an insane diet. Late nights and accidental sleepovers are out because someone has to wake up early for work or getā€¦

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Downtown Travels Mixtape Vol. 2Ā 

It’s a such a beautiful day out here in ATX. Definite blast the car stereo weather. Therefore, time to share the second volume of the Downtowm Travels series! This time we have Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and the Avett Brothers in the mix.

This playlist is more along the lines of what I’m interested in. A sorta favorites list because I like the vibe, sound, lyrics, and all that good stuff. A few have a couple stories attached.

  1. Frank Sinatra – Fly Me to the Moon

Ah Frank Sinatra. I should really write a post on his great life. Note to self. Sinatra is first on the playlist because, well, Sinatra is the answer to everything (at least according to my friend Siddiqi and me.)

2.Ā The Postal Service – Sleeping In

The opening lyrics is what gets me. “Last night I had the strangest dream / where everything was exactly how it seemed / where there was never any mystery / of who shot John F Kennedy”. It gets me thinking of a world where thingsĀ are simple. No wars, no global climate problems, no conspiracy theories. It also gets me, the history nerd, thinking, “what would have happened if JFK lived out his full four year term? Would the 60s be the 60s with him around?” Sound the conspiracy music!

 

3.Ā The Beatles – In My LifeĀ 

Once you hear the piano, you’ll understand.

 

4.Ā The Avett Brothers – Another is Waiting

One of my favorite 21st century bands…actually make that all time bands period. The lyrics are fun. They are great live (no, I have yet to see them in person but watched enough Youtube videos to make this sound judgement). They are folksy and have a great piano player. They’ll even get ragtimey at times. Yep, gotta dedicate a post to them soon.

5.Ā The Beatles – All My Loving

Funny story about this one. IĀ once dared a friend, who has a rather terrible singing voice (not that mine is any better), to sing a song. No conditions or anything, just any song. He didn’t do it at the right second. Instead, he waited a good week, knocked on my door and started singing the Beatles. Silly me should have gotten it on video because it was pretty good (and hilarious!). Every time I hear this song, part of me will think there’s someone at the front door. That and the lyrics are just absolutely adorbs and soooooooo 1960s.

 

7. New Politics – Harlem

Because you just need a song to dance to.

 

8.Ā Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear – Silent Movies

You know I am a fan of the soulful voices. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear do not stray from this. Their raspy voices transport you to another world, another time. Did the mention the instrumentals are amazing?

 

9.Ā Future Islands – A Dream of You And Me

For those days when you need a sorta more soothing approach. This song reminds me of those lazy spring days laying on the grass in front of Main Building at St. Ed’s where you are trying to study but are so focused by the beauty that surrounds you.

 

10.Ā The Decemberists – 16 Military Wives

The Decemberists are great with lyrics. The instrumentals are simple, which is nice because it helps you focus on the storyline that is portrayed in the song. It’s political yet fun. It’s got a bit of a marching beat to it, much like the military marches.

 

11.Ā Foster the People – Best Friend

I am originally from the Voldemort state (you know, that one big West Coast state that Texans do not like and wish would stay away from any inch of the Lone Star State in fear of completely screwing up the mellow/country/old school landscape), so it’s no surprise I would cheer for a band from my old stomping grounds.Ā The song is catchy and when you hear them live like I did at SXSW a few years back, you can’t get rid of them no matter how hard you try. The lyrics, if you truly listen, have mixed meanings. I’ve taken it as drug addiction problems, writers block, and even the general concept of friends being there for each other no matter what the situation is.

 

12.Ā SPEAK – Carrie

Another one of my favorite bands of all time. A friend introduced me to this Austin band about four years ago (yes, the same friend who sang the Beatles on my front porch on a dare). This song is from their 2011 album, I Believe in Everything. Regardless of whatever mood you are in you will dance to the beat of this song and fall in love with Troupe Gammage’s voice. Definite song of any summer for me.

 

Hope you enjoy. There will be more coming soon!

P.S did anyone catch the typo? šŸ™‚

“Beg-packers”

Daily Mail came out with an article a few days ago detailing the “rise of ‘beg-packers‘”. Yes, that’s right: beg-packers. Basically, people (ahem, Westerners) who sit on the side of the road and beg for money while they are traveling through some of the world’s poorest regions. It’s becoming an increasingly insane problem, especially in Southeast Asia where truly needy people are in pure survival mode, not “look at me with my ukulele and Patagonia backpack that I spent wayyyyy too much money on hence me playing with the ukulele and asking you for money.”

 

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People begging on the streets of Bangkok. From DailyMail.com

I am not condemning backpackers. I myself would love to backpack the world someday, preferably Europe. I am simply calling people for their poor financial skills. So here are a few tips to manage your money while going on these excursions.

  1. Do your research! Google exists for a reason. Check how much plane tickets are during the time period you want to go, average cost of room and board (whether it be Airbnb, friends or even a campground), average cost of food, and entertainment.
  2. Once you have done your research, start saving! I take 15% of my paycheck and transfer it to my savings account. Here I further allocate what goes to the emergency fund, what goes to the retirement fund and whatever is left, the vacation fund. Sure 15% sounds like a lot but if you’re a lucky duck who makes $1000 per paycheck, you’re saving $150 every two weeks. That’s $300 per month and $3600 per year. You can do more or less. Up to you.
  3. Hit the bargain binsĀ when you’re shopping for equipment. You don’t necessarily have to go to REI to get the fancy schmancy Patagonia coat or top of the line insulated to-go thermos. Check out TJ Maxx or even your local Goodwill. You’d be amazed at what you find there.
  4. Learn a thing or two from the locals.Ā How about bartering? Don’t really need those extra pair of flip flops, but really need enough food to last a couple days? Try trading if it’s common culture wherever you are at. I’m pretty sure they would appreciate the clean Rainbow flip flops.
  5. Don’t have enough money to go on your own? Try going with a group, whether it be your church or your friends. Everyone pitches in so the burden is not entirely placed on your shoulders.
  6. Probably the most important rule: once you’re there, balance your books! Spent $10 on jewelry? Expense that from your “entertainment fund” to get an accurate total. Gained $5 from winning a mini contest? It’s revenue in your pocket so add it to your total. This will give a clear view on how little or how much you are spending or gaining throughout the trip.

Please remember the needy are needy. They are in pure survival mode. You the begpacker? Well, you should have read this post first. šŸ™‚

13 Reasons Why

It’s the current Netflix craze. And for good reason. Please note there are some spoilers.

13 Reasons Why, based on the book of the same name by Jay Asher, is a dual timeline, riveting mystery that tells the story of Hannah Baker-a high school girl who commits suicide but leaves 13 tapes to the 13 people that helped her reach her point of suicide, each tape a worse reason than the former. But she isn’t the whole story. There are various subplots that intertwine between these 13 people, an extra step beyond the book if one of those people who compare. One could argu Clay Jensen, the person who gets possession of the tapes during the show, is the second protagonist since we are on this journey with him.

13 Reasons WhyĀ is a powerful piece on the impacts of bullying, social media and more serious issues such as mental issues, rape and suicide. The characters are relate-able. You canĀ see yourself as both the victim and those who hurt the victim. It helps you realize and further understand that even the smallest action could create the greatest negative impact on the other person, whether it be positive or negative, living or passed.

The plots, though a tad exaggerated at times, is a true depiction/no BS conjecture of high school life in the 21st century. Social media, lack of help from the officials and bullying are major things that play important roles in today’s high school scene. What’s interesting is the fact that Hannah’s truth is not necessarily the whole truth. Throughout the show, you are feeling bad for Hannah and wish revenge on those who hurt her, but the back of your mind is left in doubt. These events are told through the eyes of one person. Clay authenticates some of the memories as he was also a witness to some of the events, but there are many that leave you wondering “did that really happen?”. It does not (or does, if you are thinking of the quality of suspense the show instills) help that the other 12 people are either trying to hide their actions, indifferent, or too scared to come out.

Finally, the music is amazingly awesome. The creators use British punk music to add to the psychological aspect, especially with Clay as he embarks on the road to mental insanity. You get flashback bands like Joy Division. You get indie bands like Lord Huron, whose “The Night We Met Met” is hands down the best song in the whole show as it is during Clay and Hannah’s slow dance scene. And you know my love for The Cure.

With this show, you are not getting Disney pixie dust with this show. The last three episodes are graphic. The production team did not sugar coat rape and suicide. They emphasized it to the point your heart is wrenching itself while you cannot stop yourself from experiencing the emotion of sadness. There’s a reason Netflix rates it TV-MA. Parents, if you have young teens, I would recommend watching the show with them. It could be a great moment to teach a few valuable life lessons.

Cross your fingers that there is a season 2.

XYZ

In high school they say

“The real world is XYZ.”

You fear it,

You wonder about it,

You desire it.

 

Off to college and they say

“The real world is XYZ.”

You fear it as you near it.

You desire it to get out to it.

You are in it.

 

The real world is here

And you find yourself

Stumped.

As the rules were always the

same:

High school cliques,

Robotic hours,

Maddening thoughts to get

out.

 

In the world they say

“The real world is XYZ.”

But we all know

XYZ is the current

Situation.