It’s Monday

I know I’m not the only person in the world that isn’t getting paid to work in their field of study. And I know that this is especially true of other people who pursued the arts in college.

I knew that my major was “unconventional” or “risky” from the start, and while I expected to struggle professionally, it has been more frustrating than I imagined it would be. It bothers me to not be employed doing something creative more than I expected it would. Other majors I would have chosen to pursue would not have been much different though, so I can’t be mad at myself about it. It wouldn’t help to be mad about it.

Still, I’ve been feeling useless and aimless. The only thing I can do is apply to job after job, and have my applications be ignored or rejected. Is there a way to assure a hiring manager that I would be the best for a position, that I deserve a chance because I won’t disappoint them?

I’ve just been too emotionally drained and beaten to really commit to any extra activities that are creative. 2017 was a tough year. I won’t dare say that 2018 will be better. I might just by jinxing myself. Maybe, if I just assume it’ll be a bad year, then it’ll end up being better than expected.

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Of Violence and Television

With disasters both natural and manmade happening in the last few weeks, writing about a television show felt unessential.

If you’re interested in a quick recap of the last two episodes of AHS: Cult, I can tell you all you need to know.

  • Ivy is in the cult to get back at Ally for voting Stein. She’s been making Ally’s life difficult on purpose.
  • Ally knows the truth, thanks to a probably now dead Meadow.
  • Dr. Vincent, Ally’s doctor, is Kai and Winter’s older brother. After the murder suicide of their parents, he arranged for their bodies to be locked away in their bedroom to rot while the children collect money.

That’s really it.

Onto this week; An opening scene of a mass shooting at a rally has been cut from tonight’s episode following the massacre in Las Vegas. Arguably important to the narrative, it would have been a pivotal moment in Ally’s character development, as she is the one that opens fire during a speech held by Kai.

FX said in a statement, “This opening, which was filmed two months ago and which portrays an occurrence of gun violence that has sadly become all too common in our country, contains a sequence that some viewers might find traumatic.”

In 2015, USA released a similar statement regarding the “Mr. Robot” first season finale that featured an on air suicide, which was supposed to air shortly after a news reporter and camera man, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, were shot and killed on air in real life.

Also in 2015, a “Supergirl” episode about bombings in a city was postponed after terrorist attacks in Paris. TNT pulled an episode of “Legends” featuring a shooting in a Paris crowd for the same reason.

A 2013 episode of “Hannibal” that depicted children brainwashed to kill other kids was pulled after the Sandy Hook shootings. Even an episode of sitcom “Friends” in 2001 had to have a joke about bombs in an airport edited out following 9/11.

We’ve all heard arguments and theories and complaints that media inspires audiences to become violent. Apparently, these days, violence in art is an imitation of growing violence in life.

Tonight’s AHS situation obviously isn’t the first of its kind. Will future programs censor themselves to avoid depicting acts of violence that have become every day occurrences in American society? I don’t think that would make a difference at this point. If inspiration for violence can’t be found in fiction, we can just turn on the news at any given time.

AHS: Cult – A theory and a recap

Before I talk about episode three, “Neighbors From Hell”, I wanted to get this idea out of the way… What do Winter, Ivy, and Meadow (Ally and Ivy’s neighbor) all have in common?

Nature related names! Could this be some kind of plot point, a sign within the cult? Or were the show writer’s just having some fun?

Onto the episode – “Neighbors From Hell” opened with Ally’s psychiatrist Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) in a session with a young woman, who has over come her fear of coffins. Later that night, the gang of clowns break into her house, and bolt her and her husband into coffins, leaving them to die. This finally has the community and media on the same page as Ally – that there’s really some kind of serial killer nastiness going on. And clearly, Dr. Rudy is telling the cult information about his patients, and he’s later seen fiddling with clown pins on top of it which was probably a subtle hint at what he’s doing.

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Ally’s fears are finally being justified. Too bad it’s in the wake of Pedro’s death, the Hispanic restaurant employee Ally accidentally gunned down last episode. The liberal community, including Meadow and Harrison across the street, is against her, dubbing her “a lesbian George Zimmerman”. The shenanigans against her range from protests at the restaurant, a Craigslist ad asking for nude men to come to their home, to Harrison and Meadow sending a guinea pig over to Oz (it gets ugly).

Kai is eager to back and protect Ally from any harassment, and is becoming her only ally in the town. It’s probably all a ploy to get her into his cult. We learned that Harrison and Meadow are also involved with Kai and have taken part in his very personal interview. Meadow reveals her fear of dying unloved and childless. Harrison reveals his regret marrying her and his wish for her to die. So it’s probably not a coincidence that their house is marked by the cult’s smiley face symbol, and that Meadow ends up dead.

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Ally, Ivy, and Oz’s home has also been marked with a smiley face, followed by their new (very doll like for the scene) pet guinea pig  being microwaved and exploding in front of all of them. Ally blames the neighbors for this and the Craigslist ads, but who can be sure since both households have been marked by the killers?

Ally’s home is also being terrorized by a mysterious chemical truck rolling down the street and spraying green gas in the middle of the night. Even Ivy sees this, so it’s undeniable. The next morning, dozens of birds end up dead on their lawn, and when Ally attempts to confront the chemical sprayers, she accidentally inhales the green gas. We’re waiting on a blood test to see how this can impact her. Frustratingly, the town isn’t very interested in the truck, but Ally and Ivy had at least three chances to take video or a picture of this truck spraying the stuff. They could’ve easily brought this to the attention of the media. The local media doesn’t seem to be influenced by anyone yet, but the preview for next week showed the reporter (Adina Porter) slashing some tires, so maybe the cult will influence her soon too.

Winter tried to seduce Ally in last weeks episode, and in a surprising twist, Oz finds video of it online, prompting Ivy to want to leave Ally right away. Cheating is bad and all, but their house has been bugged! That’s very concerning! But since Meadow’s murder followed the revelation shortly after, I doubt that Ivy is leaving Ally now.

 

 

 

 

AHS: Cult – Episode 2

This weeks episode of American Horror Story had a lot happening, but at the same time it felt like nothing. And while I wasn’t very excited by “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”, I can still appreciate what they tried to do in this episode.

Ally and Ivy have new neighbors in what was their friends’ house, until the were murdered by the clowns in the first episode. A married couple, played by Billy Eichner and Leslie Grossman, have moved into the house, while there are still blood stains on the floors and walls. These characters were written to be unconventional and abnormal to what we expect people to be like based on their identities.

ahs couple

They’re introduced as the married couple that filmed Kai’s “assault” last week. We learn that they are beekeepers, that the wife avoids the sun and intimacy after developing skin cancer multiple times and that the husband is actually gay. They’re only married for the sake of a pact that they would get married to each other if not to anyone else. This is surprising, after the wife’s tone deaf comment about how lesbians can raise property values. Further into the episode, we find out that the husband is an avid gun collector that is afraid of losing his second amendment rights, and that he is also a serious conspiracy/doomsday theorist. If this couple is to represent a theme, it would be not to judge a book by its cover, or even, that stereotypes don’t matter.  You don’t know the story behind that “lovely couple”, or you can’t assume that someone’s sexuality influences their interests personally or politically. By the way, I’m not a fan of Eichner but he is great on the show.

Ally volunteers to go to the restaurant in the middle of the night to shut the alarm off, only to find one of their white employees hanging on a meat hook, half dead. She tries to help him down, but it only kills him. Suspicion falls on Pedro, a line cook who is a born American, but assumed to be an immigrant because of his Hispanic decent. Meanwhile, Kai did end up leaking the video of his assault, and he’s using his victimhood to run for local government. Out campaigning, he has a confrontation with Ally, mocking her for hiding in her now refortified home.

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Chill out.

Finally, while Winter attempts to seduce Ally, all of the lights in the neighborhood (and supposedly over several states) go out. Eichner’s character runs over to warn them that it’s the Russians or another attacking nation, and that things are about to get violent. Winter leaves, and Ally grabs her newly acquired gun and plans to make a run for the neighbor’s with Oz. She is startled by the arrival of Pedro, who was sent to check on her, and she accidentally shoots him, and we are left to wonder if he survived.

It feels like Ally is being influenced from many different angles by everyone. Clearly, her new neighbors are part of Kai’s posse and might be deliberately giving her new reasons to be afraid (they also gave her the gun). Was part of the plan to murder the employee so that Ivy would be at the restaurant restocking food while the lights went out? Did Ivy pick Pedro to go to their house deliberately? Is Winter trying to strain their marriage? Maybe there’s a simple explanation to all these happenings, or maybe it’s part of some complex and unbelievable scheme.

 

 

 

AHS: How Trump Ruined America and What’s Ahead

Three hurricanes, the repeal of DACA, the KKK and Nazis charging in the streets of the United States of America; It looks like we’re already living an American Horror Story!

But totally original jokes about the state of our country aside, American Horror Story: Cult has finally premiered, and boy was it gory, kind of gross, and funny in its own way.This season will be focusing on Ally, her wife Ivy (Sarah Paulson, Alison Pill) and their young son Ozzie, and (supposedly brother and sister) duo Kai and Winter (Evan Peters, Billie Lourd).

It’s an exaggeration of our post-Trump election world, and it’s hostile for the same-sex married couple, especially Ally who has lost control of her phobias of clowns, tiny holes, and blood among other things. While the LGBTQ community is one of the many groups that the conservative administration threatens to make life hell for, the show runners still purposefully make satire out of their white privilege; Self obsessed Ally manages to make 9/11 all about her during a therapy session, and Ivy is upset at her wife for throwing away her vote to Jill Stein.

Kai is thriving, ranting about the chance to take advantage of people’s fears in order to control them (similar to how Trump’s campaign went) and putting his theory into action. During the episode, he uses racial slurs and throws a condom full of urine at a group of Hispanic men, who then attack him. Unknown to them, the beating is being recorded on a cell phone, and will surely be used by Kai to insight racial tensions. It’s interesting to note that Kai also takes part in an actual hate crime, splashing Ally and Ivy with coffee when he runs into them in the street. It’s some of that hypocritical behavior that has become typical of some Trump supporters to show.

It’s obviously being set up for Kai to become a leader of some kind of movement or cult, but there is also a group of killers in clown masks wreaking havoc in the neighborhood. Ally has a disturbing run in with them at the grocery store, but the police and one handed Trump supporting cashier say there’s no evidence of anything happening. I mention the cashier’s missing limb because later events lead me to think that it’s not all in Ally’s head and that the cashier is in on it, but I wasn’t able to spot if any of the clowns was missing a hand.

The event I’m talking about is between Oz and Winter, who following a strange pact with Kai, snags a job as Oz’s new nanny. While his parents are out, Winter introduces Oz to the dark web and shows him videos of real murders and dead bodies. Oz spots the same gang of clowns that attacked his mom pull up to a neighbor’s house in an old ice cream truck. He and Winter go to investigate, and Oz ends up witnessing the murder’s of his parent’s friends, which he recounts to Ally and Ivy. Winter brushes off his story, blaming it on his imagination and the Twisty the Clown comic she found in his room, and Ivy agrees, mentioning his realistic night terrors. I’m thinking he’s telling the truth, since it’s the same clowns that attacked Ally and she never described what they looked like to him.

The seasons of AHS are all connected in some way, and this season is calling back season four’s Freak Show. I wonder how Twisty the Clown is now the subject of a comic book. Has Twisty gone down in history as an urban legend to monetize? Or has enough time passed that whoever is making the comic books doesn’t feel shame in exploiting the serial killer? While the gore in the episode grossed me out, I am intrigued and hope to be able to keep up with the new season.

I want to do a break down of the new opening as well, as I noticed a few callbacks to previous seasons in there as well. Stay tuned!

I’m Moving To Toronto!*

*Not really, but I want to!

I visited the States’s northern neighbor with my boyfriend in April, and we fell in love with the Canadian city of Toronto. On top of the total lack of terrible politics, it’s a much nicer atmosphere when compared to any place I’ve visited in the U.S. We really enjoyed almost everything about the city and we plan on going back. I would go back tomorrow if I could. I already have an itinerary set up in my mind.

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We bought a City Pass so that we could see as many tourist spots as possible. We were able to visit the CN Tower, the Toronto Zoo, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the Royal Ontario Museum.

On top of that, we went to a Toronto FC game, the grand opening of Toronto’s new Stussy store, visited the Distillery District, ate a ton of food, and I won the grand prize at a bingo game that a restaurant happened to be holding on our last night!

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I am the winner.

The only bad part was the public transit. Neither of us drive, so we planned on relying on the Toronto Transit System’s (TTC) busses, street cars, and subways, and uber when it was necessary. We had also planned on getting their version of a Metro Card, PRESTO, but it turned out that they’re impossible to find, and that we’d need to order one weeks in advance. Their transit is a token, paper printed transfer system that was annoying, if only for the fact that they do have an easier method that just isn’t accessible to everyone. Oh, and flight’s take off to get there was pretty rough and felt life threatening, but we are obviously just fine.

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Distillery District, and also how I feel about Toronto.

The hotel we stayed at was awesome, and the guy working the front desk was one of the most helpful and friendliest people I could ever imagine meeting. I wasn’t disappointed when I didn’t see poutine on the McDonald’s menu, as I quickly learned that poutine might be a bit overrated in the United States (it’s really just okay). I can’t wait to visit Canada again, and maybe by then, I could be able to drive there!

Quick Update for 2017

I not so recently quit my job to become the caregiver of my terminally ill grandmother.

She was diagnosed with cancer years ago, and was able to be cured with surgery and radiation. But about a year ago, she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer (unrelated to the previous cases). We were told from the start that it could never be cured, but the progression could be slowed down.

The chemotherapy turned my grandmother into a sickly shell of the person she once was. And then three months ago, the treatments stopped working. So it was decided that she would be put onto hospice care. It quickly became apparent that she could no longer be alone in the house. In her weakness, she’s forgetful and prone to falling. So, I took up the task of being her caregiver.

I never knew what hospice really was. I had my own idea of it, but it’s not what I thought it’d be. Hospice can be at home or a facility, and it’s purely comfort care. For example, if my grandma caught pneumonia, they would not try to treat her or make her better, because she’s supposed to die anyway.

I’m resigned to the fact that she will die within months. The hardest part is to watch her deteriorate mentally. There are many anecdotes I could share, but that’s for another time; As I write this, I am currently nursing my own bad cold and I am too tired to write much more than this quick update on my life.

I started a five year journal of short entries, so I figured I should start writing anything I could on here as well. I’ve been neglectful of my writing, but recently have found more inspiration to write my own things. Who knows how long it will last?

Thanks for reading.