Amazed. Astonished. Breathless. Some will reject this person, and others will worship him.
Julio Torres is the David Bowie of comedy. I have no idea if someone of actual critical merit has already made this comparison or not. I’ve been actively avoiding reviews of his new HBO special My Favorite Shapes because I want my opinion of it to remain pure and strictly my own. I didn’t want my thoughts tainted or made biased by the perceptions of people with respected views.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to an unofficial David Bowie autobiography titled Hero by Lesley-Ann Jones, watched the documentary Finding Fame on Showtime that highlights Bowie’s formative years in music, and played track by track of every album from David Bowie to Diamond Dogs. It’s a lot of Bowie, but could there ever be too much Bowie – that’s a negative.
A few friends had been posting about the special, and I’d seen trailers on Julio’s Instagram feed. Neither spoiled the magic nor artistic brilliance, which is My Favorite Shapes. We’ve been presented with comedy specials that break the format, Hasan Minhaj’s Homecoming King for example. But from the set design to the glitter on Julio’s well-manicured hands sharing his favorite shapes with us all, Torres didn’t just break the mold of comedy – he shattered it and then reassembled the pieces into a gorgeous fountain mosaic at the center of his alternative zoo.
I sat there watching the special, for a second time around, and exclaimed, “this must be how people who saw David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust on Top of the Pops must have felt.” Amazed. Astonished. Breathless. Some will reject this person, and others will worship him. When I was a kid, Earth just happened to be close enough to Saturn that through a telescope I could see the rings around the planet. It was so special, and not something I could replicate a week later. It was the fact that at that moment, on that night, I could see Saturn’s rings. And at this moment in time, on that particular network, Julio Torres’s My Favorite Shapes was contracted into existence without needing the comedian to convince anyone of the concept.
Torres’s past performances can be seen on YouTube. A scavenger hunt of the puzzle pieces that would become his special. In 2016 at a Risk! Live show he discusses that job interview where he blurts out “I love corporations” in more detail. At Paste Studios he goes through impersonations that demonstrates his style which would lead to that bitchy little curtain between first and second class. It was also in 2016 that he had yet to have crafted his sign off, “if there are no further questions,” struggling for a way to end a set. But Julio from the past, you will figure out how to end a set, and it will be perfection. In April of 2017, Daisy Duck makes an appearance in his performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and a year later Cinderella’s glass shoe on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. My Favorite Shapes isn’t an overnight success, like all great art; it has taken years to craft and refine.
David Bowie’s Space Oddity brought Bowie attention, but not the fame and notoriety that would be his legacy. Bowie put out The Man Who Sold the World and Hunky Dory after Space Oddity, and the albums have excellent songs on them, but it wasn’t till The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust was released that Bowie ripped the veil between fame and icon. Julio Torres ripped through that veil with his special; its uniqueness makes it iconic. And not in the way the word is overused today, but in the most real sense of the word – Julio Torres is worthy of adoration, great respect, and reverence. I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next. My only prayer is that the pressure of the artistic success and achievement of My Favorite Shapes doesn’t get into his head and that he will continue to be fiercely true to himself. Write what makes him laugh because his audience will find him. And as he continues to navigate life, he takes influences from wherever he may roam. I can’t wait to see the Julio Torres spin on all of it.
The melody in this song feels like the summer before my senior year of high school.
The summer solstice has come and gone, meaning we are officially in the second part of the year. Yes, half of 2019 is gone and we are barreling towards 2020. It’s the perfect time to be reflective and set out fresh intentions for the year. In the spirit of mid-year evaluations, I am sharing what I deem to be the best songs of 2019 thus far. The top 5 songs pulled from my Q1 and Q2 playlists, that must be added to your summer playlist for road trip listening or poolside chilling.
“Trouble on Central” -Buddy | A harsh reality weaved into a beautiful melody.
“Dance With Someone!!!”- Busty and the Bass | Love this insanely funky song, but I just saw a live performance of this song, and it’s a total Rick Astley like experience.
“Can’t Hardly Wait” – Justin Townes Earle | Sometimes a cover is just as good as the original. This rendition feels like a cool breeze on a hot day, salty skin and simple adventures.
“The Jangling Man” – The Cleaners from Venus | This song swirls up so much nostalgia, and I was only just introduced to The Cleaners from Venus, but the melody in this song feels like the summer before my senior year of high school.
“Lost on You” – LP | I have a total crush on singer-songwriter Laura Pergolizzi and this song. The emotion in the delivery twists the echoing pain of unrequited love and rejection. I could roll around in the self-indulgent lamented pain that drips from every word. #obsessed
BONUS: “Viktor Borgia” – Stephan Malkmus | This song is awesome, but the comments on the music video, if read with love – are flipping AMAZING. My favorite: “When you need to make a Dadtronica video to embarrass your teenage daughters but don’t feel like changing out of your lawn mowing outfit.” – Luke Larsson on YouTube
Enjoy the above tunes and more on my Q1 & Q2 2019 Playlists. I’ll be back in December to share Q3 & Q4.
In the meantime, let me know who I should look up or listen to. I’m welcome to suggestions.
Q1 Playlist //
Q2 Playlist //
Follow me on Spotify for all my playlists – blanket_fort_adventures
I interviewed for a company that was all about crystals and the zodiac. In my cover letter, I outlined how my sun and moon sign makes me a great candidate for the position.
In April I started my dream job. I’ve never had a specific title I’ve been gunning for or a particular company I dreamed to work for, but I had a very specific desire when it came to my next career move – and in the process of finding a new place of employment, I landed a dream position. Since November 2018, I had been interviewing and sending out my resume to different job prospects. By the time my job hunt had ended, I had 3 job offers on the table. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or haughty, but I’m sharing to support the claim I’m about to publicly make. I’m really good at finding a job. The last time I was hardcore job hunting in 2011, I ended up having 2 job offers at one time.
I don’t like job hunting, I find the process exhausting and stressful. But I feel pretty confident in my job hunting skills, enough so that I feel like sharing my process. This list will also basically reflect how my year has been so far.
*Disclaimer – I am a spiritual person, who believes in source energy and the law of attraction. I will have very logical and actionable steps for getting a job. But, as a reader you should know, I attribute 50% of my job to the spiritual work I did along with physical actions.
Step 1: Identify What You Want.
Get really clear about what you want in your life right now.
When I was job hunting I wanted to move into a position that would provide me with more financial stability, and help me grow as a professional. I had a specific number in my head in terms of income. I wanted to feel challenged by my work, not just stressed. Work on projects that I would be proud to share. I also knew the places I would compromise, like a title demotion in exchange for company/brand name recognition on my resume. Subconsciously, I also wished for a place with a flexible work schedule and a great paid time off policy. Benefits that included good health insurance plans and 401k. But I was mostly focused on income and professional growth versus company perks.
Being clear about what you want helps to guide the job hunting process.
Step 2: Get Your Materials Ready
LinkedIn profile, PDF resume, portfolio – be prepared to send them if asked.
Towards the end of 2018, I was feeling pretty lost in my career and knew I would be pursuing a new job in 2019, so I started working on my LinkedIn. I made sure my current position was updated with my responsibilities and included information around my various side projects. I looked over profiles of people whose careers I admired and used them as inspiration when crafting my bio. The LinkedIn makeover attracted the attention of a few recruiters, and I was having phone interviews before I applied to a single job.
I freshened up my resume with the information I included on my LinkedIn. And to stand out against the sea of black and white resumes, I added simple design elements built out in Word. Then I created a matching portfolio in PowerPoint. If you don’t have Microsoft Office, Google Drive has programs that act as Word and PowerPoint, which can be easily used and exported as PDF’s to send when applying to jobs.
Employers are sifting through dozens if not hundreds of resumes, a little visual disruption never hurts.
Step 3: Take Every Call and Apply Daily
Every No is practice that refines you for the Yes.
It wasn’t until the second week of January that I started to aggressively job hunt. Everything else had been passive, but I knew it was time to get serious. I checked LinkedIn and Indeed for job posts almost daily, and applied to everything in my field that felt like a position that would move my career forward. Even if the company seemed dull, or the commute inconvenient – I applied. When I had a bad day at my previous job, I would throw out my discernment and just apply to any position that had the word marketing in the description, because it helped make me feel like I was still trying to change my future.
I see it all as a numbers games, the more resumes I send and applications I fill out, the closer I get to the job that is meant for me. Because of how many places I apply when actively hunting, I keep track of it all in a Google spreadsheet, with the name of the company, position title, and link to the job post. Over 2.5 months I sent my resume out to 30 companies, had 6 recruiters reach out me through LinkedIn, 8 phone screenings, 4-second interviews, and 2 in-person interviews. I said yes to any call or conversation with whoever would have me.
When discouraged seeing your effort towards finding a position can help provide perspective. If I had hit 10 in-person interviews with 0 offers, I would have sought out an interview coach. But my next tip can help and is more cost effective
Step 4: Take Copious Notes
Assess what you are doing great, and what needs improvement.
I’m a researcher and data nerd. I love to analyze the facts of a situation and deduce a reasonable solution. Since I hadn’t gone on a job interview in 5 years, I looked up various interview prep videos on YouTube, like what questions should I ask and how do I spin a negative into a positive. I wrote down my answers and ran them by the most professional and smartest person I know, my sister. That was all my prep, but it wasn’t until I saw the headline of a Ted Talk video (yes, I haven’t even watched it yet) did I get the idea that I think changed the game for me.
The Ted Talk inspired me to track the performance of each interview. I made a timeline of initial screening to a call with the hiring manager, so I could anticipate an average turn around. I reflected on the interviews and wrote down the answers that I felt received a positive response from the interviewer, what anecdotes and knowledge resonated with them. I made notes of the questions where I fumbled or gave an answer that the interviewer needed clarification on. From there I refined my answers, till I knew exactly how to present my skills in the best way possible. When I went in for my 90-minute interview with the company I’m at now, I was like a trained athlete ready for the Olympics. I had practiced and perfected my technique, and it’s all thanks to my notes.
Use all the resources you have, and that includes the interview process itself.
Step 5: Know Your Worth, Know Who You Are.
At the end of the day, you’re either what they are looking for, or you’re not. And that’s ok.
As I expressed above, I analyze things. I OVER ANALYZE things too. I stress over my handwriting in a thank you card. I re-read post-interview thank you emails multiple times. (Oh yeah, don’t forget to send a thank you or follow up email to your recruiter). Remember when I said I didn’t have a dream company, well I guess did, because when they reached out to me I got as excited as a pre-teen going to their first concert headlined by a prepubescent popstar. It’s a company that sells art printed on kitschy items, perfect for me, and yet they totally brushed me off because I didn’t have any flashy brands on my resume. I could have beaten myself up over it but realized that it was their loss, not mine. And it really was, because now I’m with a better company, in an even better position.
Sometimes, what you think on paper is the perfect job – might not really be the perfect job.
I interviewed for another company that was all about crystals and the zodiac. Yeah, I outlined how my sun and moon sign makes me a great candidate for the position in my cover letter. They wanted an in-person interview immediately, but after reviewing their Glassdoor – it was NOT the place for me. Because I know my worth and value, I know what I bring to a company and what I wanted out of my next position – I was comfortable walking away from opportunities too.
My goal was to go where I would be challenged and my worth would be reflected in a tangible value. Knowing who I am, what I bring to a table, and what I wanted kept desperation at bay and perseverance high.
Also, I don’t want to make it look like I didn’t get bummed out, disappointed, frustrated, have stress-induced insomnia or cry in a little ball on my bathroom floor – because I did all of that. BUT, I didn’t let it stop me from believing that the right position was out there. I cried on the bathroom floor and then sent out my resume to 6 different job posts.
The company you’re interviewing with wants YOU to be the one, just go in and show them that you are.
Everyone is starting a podcast or listening to a podcast. I remember downloading podcasts from iTunes onto my iPod in 2005, obscure punk podcasts and one hosted by the singer of Voxtrot. They were rough, unrefined, mostly personal playlists with banter in between. Then over time, I forgot about my love for podcasts until the medium bubbled up to the surface of our social consciousness again. Oh yeah – I like those. It’s been a few years, and some podcasts have stuck with me and others I don’t check in on as frequently. I wanted to write this blog post 2.5 years ago, but got too precious about the presentation and never executed it. In 2016 my favorite podcasts were That’s So Retrograde, Happier Podcast, Bruce Lee Podcast, Failure Factor, and Ted Talk Radio Hour. I only listen to one of those on a consistent basis today. Not that the other podcasts failed me or anything, I will still put on Ted Talk Radio Hour if I have a long drive and I want to use the podcast as my way to track the time, but mostly my taste has just shifted and interest diverged. Also, I was listening to A LOT of self-help podcasts because those were the only ones I knew about. I still have more self-help subscriptions than any other style of podcasts, but the below are really my favorites of 2018 / Q1 of 2019.
1 ] True Crime Obsessed – My sister gets 100% credit for turning me onto “True Crime Obsessed”. As the title suggests, it’s about true crime. But it’s the hosts that make it so incredibly special and fun. Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle are two theater geeks who also have a love for Dateline and true crime docs. As I’ve described it to friends, imagine Jack and Karen from Will and Grace discussed the ID Channel; except they are breaking down some of the best (and heartbreaking) true crime documentaries with humor and compassion. They have a literal bell to ring when discussing garbage humans and Gillian’s impressions are hilarious. Her Warren Jeff’s is the only thing that makes listening to that monster’s voice tolerable. I highly suggest starting from the beginning when it comes to diving into TCO. Although you could start anywhere, it’s the episodic inside jokes that develop over the series that makes you feel like you’re really just hanging out with your pals discussing some of the most horrific aspects of life. Plus they close out the shows with a palate cleanser from a Broadway Musical that is loosely tied to the documentary, for example, the palate cleanser for Prophet’s Prey was from the Book of Mormon. *jazz hands* Yeah, True Crime isn’t for everyone – but this one is for me.
Listen If You Like: True Crime Documentaries, Broadway Musicals, LGBTQ History, and Strong Women
2] That’s So Retrograde – The fabulous hosts of “That’s So Retrograde” are Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Falcon Simbari. If you like crystals, meditation, new age, wellness, astrology and all the things that might help you just vibrate higher – Elizabeth and Stephanie are here to explore those topics for you and with you. I describe this podcast like Sex and the City meets Mind Body Green. They are down to earth, with a sense of humor, trying their best to navigate being a human, living their truth, and picking up various tools to help their mind, body, and spirit be at the level which will help them live their best life. The topics and guests range from super scientist discussing the microbiome to a little more woo-woo covering how the latest cosmic shift should possibly influence your next Botox appointment. Also, I went to one of their live shows last year and excited to share – these two hosts are totally cool and awesome in real life too.
Listen If You Like: Horoscopes, Goop, Vanderpump Rules, Gluten-Free Pizza, and Normal Pizza
3] You Made It Weird – Hosted by comedian Pete Holmes, “You Made It Weird” is for those that love long listening. I was going to say “long-form content,” but that is used for a different medium. Anyways, Pete Holmes books his guest for 2 to 3 hours so they have enough time to move through that space of guarded polite conversation to when one’s hair comes down and they are both relaxed enough to have a real and honest connection. Pete is a former evangelic Christian, reformed atheist, who subscribes to the teachings of Ram Dass and whatever helps to elevate his spiritual being. The podcast isn’t preachy by any means, but if you enjoy comedy and thinking about the deeper meaning as to why we are here (or have regular existential crises like myself) then you will enjoy “You Made It Weird.” He has a 450 episodes to date with recognizable names sprinkled throughout, so you can totally scroll till you find someone of interest or do what I do – make your Podcast app scroll through the episodes really fast, ask the universe what you need to hear and click play.
Listen if you Like: That feeling you get after having a really good insightful conversation with a complete stranger.
4 ] You Must Remember This – Remember when actresses were subscribed drugs by the Hollywood Studio system, and actors married female costars to present a family image while sleeping with their handsome male hairdresser. Yes, “You Must Remember This” is like an Old Hollywood gossip column with the sophistication and panache of scholarly historian. The host Karina Longworth brings the stories of yesteryear alive, by creating captivating seasons that cover everyone from Joan Crawford to Charles Manson. If you’ve ever been fascinated with Old Hollywood, or the transition of Hollywood to what we know of it as today then this podcast is for you. The beautiful part of this podcast is it seems like one season plants the seed for the next, like a fun fact or tidbit of information begs for further investigation and suddenly there is a series on the parallels of Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda’s careers. It’s like if Nancy Drew grew up and was a film buff.
Listen if you Like: Movies in Black and White, Scandal, True Crime, and Glamour.
Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard – Cool people having deep conversations
By The Book – Two awesome ladies trying out self-help books so you don’t have to.
Fishnet Flixs – If the word “Camp” makes you think of iconic fashion and cult-classic worthy dialogue before nature and tents, then this is for you!
Let me know what podcasts are on your download list. I hope you enjoying checking out a few of my favorites.
Over this past year, I collected my trash in a large bag in my closet. The following is the results of said collection, with the exclusion of a few products, because I was getting tired of filming.
I am a loyalist when it comes to my favorite products, it is hard to get me to deviate from what I know works for me. So, I don’t think I will ever do an empties video again, because of this – I made my ultimate empties video.
Not shown is the amount of toothpaste my husband and I went through in 2018. We brushed our teeth. Trust me when I say a lot of Sensodyne toothpaste was used. not sponsored, but open to it
🧡 Below is a list of Amazon affiliate links to my Ride or Die Products 🧡
First Aid Beauty Ultra Hydrating Cream: https://amzn.to/2RXovRo
Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser: https://amzn.to/2sCvcKA
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion: https://amzn.to/2APPd4I
Philosophy Purity Cleanser: https://amzn.to/2szjGzl
Rosehip Oil: lhttps://amzn.to/2T8kBml
Serge Normant Dry Shampoo: https://amzn.to/2sCxf1b
Oribe Texturizing Spray: https://amzn.to/2AVfH4P
Thank you 2018…
Now, I have that Ariana Grande song stuck in my head.
Not, but really. Thank you 2018, you forced me to grow. You pulled the rug from underneath me, stripped me of my bearings, and then starred me down challenging me to get back up.
At the end of 2017, I was chewed out by a toxic client and blamed for ruining a project that was not my responsibility in the first place. I became the whipping boy, and I took the lashings on my already burned out nerves from having spent the year plannin my wedding. I went into 2018 a little broken and tired. But put one mangled foot in front of the other, and slowly by the end of February I was starting to feel a little stronger. I’d started school and was making progress towards getting my AA — the goal to get it finished by the end of the year. I had figured out how to navigate work better. My mental health was on an upswing.
Then at the end of March, my sister and I found out my Father was losing his living situation and we would have to find him a place to live. I have a strained and complicated relationship with my father filled with a pool of pain. I had created a very structured and simple box labeled Dad I could stuff all my feelings in and shoved it on a high shelf to collect dust. I would take it down twice a year for his birthday and Christmas, but most of the year – it was out of sight and out of mind. Then all of a sudden the box fell off the shelf, shattered, and the feelings started pouring out; anger, resentment, rage, frustration, sadness, regret, guilt. Like a poisonous gas, all these issues I thought I had figured out how to deal with was all of a sudden suffocating me.
We found a place for him to live. We figured out a way to make sure he had groceries. Now, I go to doctor appointments with him as he is addressing various health concerns he had neglected for over 10 years. We cleaned out storage units to free up his cash flow. My husband and I even drove to Pullyup, Washington to empty out a storage unit into a Uhaul truck and dump the items at a Goodwill.
The tears flowed like a broken faucet as I drove away from Washington with my father’s choice possessions packed in the back of the SUV we rented, feeling like my life was closing in on me. I wasn’t going to be able to finish school this year like planned. I had to take care of a person who had abandoned me. I felt stagnant in my career. My life had become a cage, and I felt trapped by my own choices.
Then in August, something changed. I shifted my perspective and realized that the cage had an open door. Yes, there were some truths about my life that I wouldn’t be able to change. But I wasn’t locked in, and I still could exercise my freedom if I chose. I felt stronger. I felt more empowered. I continued to work towards my degree and will be working on it in 2019 too. I’m not a zen master when it comes to my Dad, still working on it – but at least I’m working on it instead of ignoring it. And I finally had a few challenging and rewarding work projects this autumn.
But 2018 wasn’t done with me yet. Oh no, at the beginning of December I got strep throat 4 days before seeing my idol John Waters, forcing me to change a few travel plans last minute. Then last week my mother-in-law, who I adore and is one of the most unique loving one of kind people I’ve ever met, had a health scare. Plus the water heater is broken, a mild inconvenience.
So with 10 days away from 2019, I can say THANK YOU 2018! I’m not racing towards the change in the calendar. No, cause, you taught me that it’s not about what is going on around me, it’s about what goes on inside me.
When my husband and I were on operation clean out Washington Storage Unit, we were listening to the book, High Performance Habits, and one of the tasks was to choose 3 words to describe the person you want to be. I chose VIBRANT, PURPOSEFUL (aka INTENTIONAL), and GROUNDED. I visualized an old oak with its roots deep in the earth, standing strong in the storm.
I don’t know what next year has in store for me, nor do I really care. All I can do is put my all into today, right now. I have goals and aspirations. I’m excited to work towards them and give my actions more intention. But 2019 will roll out as it will, and all I can do is take what it throws at me with grit and grace.
I keep thinking of this saying, “When you make plans, God laughs.” As I look back on this year, I can find several pretty comedic moments; like the Uhaul not starting and acting like it had a dead battery after it was fully loaded and we had 45 minutes to drop everything off at Goodwill and a recycling center.
The power of laughter is right there with love. Laughter diffuses pain, fear, and anger. Laughter is everything. So the only thing I ask for this New Year is more laughs.
Wishing all those who check my corner of the internet an amazing holiday season and fun night ringing in 2019.
*affiliate link to the book we were listening to : https://amzn.to/2Sg9VBk *
Q3 2018 Spotify Playlist| Road Side
Another playlist another life update…
How is it already November? How are we already in the second month of Q4?
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately, ok let’s be honest, when am I not self-reflective.
I journal on a daily basis, and it’s interesting how the same frets, insecurities, anxieties, hopes, dreams, aspirations – they just cycle through the pages. To be super honest and transparent, I don’t feel like I’ve grown in the ways I’ve hoped to grow over the last few years. And yet I KNOW I’ve grown in different ways that I didn’t anticipate or plan. It’s like my life is one long road trip, and instead of getting to my desired destination, I discovered something different and interesting in a roadside attraction.
Now, what I need to come to terms with and accept is that although I didn’t get to my destination, I can’t regret the experiences and lessons I learned by the roadside. Life is the greatest adventure, the only thing linear about it is that there is a beginning and an end, but everything in between is filled with curves, roundabouts, peaks, and valleys. This year is almost over, and I think it’s fair to say that I’ve done the best I could with it. But it’s not over yet, and I’m not racing to the finish line. I’m back on the road, with a new map in hand, and ready to burn rubber!
(*ok I’m done with the road trip metaphors – for now 😉)
The handmade art installation of 31,000 felt pieces by the artist Lucy Sparrow.
Unfortunately, Sparrow Mart closed it’s doors this past Saturday, but if you weren’t able to enjoy the felt made mecca in real life, you can come explore with me!
The store was mini-mart sized but more like a miniature Gelsons, as it was stocked with produce and meats, a sushi counter and fresh fish. The shelves had brand names that invoked childhood memories, and Sparrow was clever in her selection of products to reproduce. Nostalgia mixed with a bit of novelty is what made Sparrow Market so special.
It was important to me to check out the store while it was fully stocked. All the items were available for purchase, and I knew as the buzz grew, the markets visual impact would dwindle. I’ve always been fascinated with the quantity versus quality aspect of art and life. My ice princess attitude towards Andy Warhol has melted over the years, but for a long time, I hated him because of his use of quantity to create an artistic statement – the use of repetition. And as I’m at Sparrow Mart thoroughly enjoying myself, looking at the felt Brillo Boxes, I’m hit with the quantity over quality constant again. A principle I once protested, I now acknowledge the merit of because when it’s done well there is nothing to dispute.
when art imitates art
more photos if you continue reading
When I was a kid I LOVED ice cream sandwiches, and it taught me a valuable life lesson.
I basically smeared chocolate cookie and ice cream everywhere.
When I was a kid I LOVED ice cream sandwiches. I’m not a huge ice cream person, but I still have a soft spot for the ice cream sandwich. The other day, as I was snacking on this tasty treat at Thinkspace Gallery, it reminded me of this mischievous story from my childhood.
One hot summer day during the commercial break of my favorite Disney Channel show, I grabbed an ice cream sandwich from the freezer. Obviously, I had many tasks to complete during this break, so for some reason, I took the treat with me to the bathroom, but promptly left it on the counter when I heard the tv show come back from its commercial break earlier than I anticipated. Well, as I was enthralled with the storyline, my ice cream sandwich was melting on the counter. I never went back for it. I think I left it there for a good hour. Don’t ask where my parental supervision was, latchkey kid all the way – BUT after whatever I was watching was over, or something uninteresting came on the tv, I returned to the bathroom to find ice cream all over the counter. I freaked out! Being only 5 years old I cleaned it up the best I could, with toilet paper. I basically smeared chocolate cookie and ice cream everywhere. Clearly unable to hide the evidence of my irresponsibility. I just locked the bathroom door and walked away.
It was another few hours until anyone attempted to open the bathroom. I continued watching tv, playing, doing what you do when your five years old. When my parents attempted to open the door, I denied knowing why it was locked. When they finally were able to get it unlocked to discover the ice cream sandwich madness within, my tiny handprints all over the counter and mirrors, I continued to deny knowing why it was locked. Eventually, I confessed to being guilty for locking the door and leaving my ice cream sandwich on the counter to melt.
Now as I reflect on this, I have to say my 5-year-old self had some real gumption to try and figure out how to clean up the mess they created all by themselves. It was my ice cream, so I should clean it up. Great sense of responsibility. Also, I learned at a very young age closing the door on a problem doesn’t make it go away. You have to face it straight on, and maybe asking for help when it’s a little too big to manage is smart too.
Next time you eat ice cream while feeling like life’s problems are a little too much to deal with, make the choice to find your sister and have her help clean up your mess before Mom and Dad find out.
Interview with musician Dev Ray, a genuinely disarming gemini.
“It changes all the time. Lately, it’s been humming into a voice recorder while driving, not very safe but sometimes necessary.”
Dev Ray is a genuinely disarming Gemini. Not that I find most Gemini’s terribly intimidating. But I like how that sounded, and Dev really is a refreshingly genuine person. To me, there is no pretense to him as a person or his music. He possesses a quality that is similar to the dreamscapes of Michel Gondry’s Science of Sleep and creates a sense of familiarity like you could have gone to elementary school together. His new tune, “Can’t Hide” out on Dangerbird Records reflects the ray of morning sunshine that Dev Ray embodies. The songs upbeat melody would soundtrack the speed up footage of a night with friends which is carried out until the sun rises over the horizon, feet in the sand and holding hands.
Find out more about this awesome person’s musical ambitions and adventuresome discoveries in my interview with Dev Ray below.
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Favorite Color: Oh, this is a hard one. I feel like people judge you the most off this. If I say blue I’m boring, if I say green people will think all I care about is money and if I say purple they just won’t believe anything I say! Seriously though, I feel like it changes all the time. As you get older you discover new colors like chartreuse or azure. This is my very frustrating way of answering this question!
Childhood Hero: Oh, another tough one. I guess I would say, Pee-Wee Herman. I was obsessed with The Movie and his playhouse show. I think his zany humor made it into my personality somehow. Him or Mr. Rogers. I always liked how he changed his sweater and shoes when he got home, I do the same thing.
Super bummed to have missed the show at Dangerbird. How did it go? What do you feel like before a show – do you have any rituals.
The show was great! I was really nervous and overwhelmed at first! A lot of people showed up! The Dangerbird backyard was packed. When I made it on stage though I felt alright. I guess I like being on stage, ha! I was actually influenced by a post that Cecilia from the band Gothic Tropic made where she did a pre-show dance ritual when she was touring for Beck, I assume she does it for her shows too. I was inspired and love dancing anyway so I danced around a little bit before the show in front of the audience and it alleviated a lot of my nerves.
Loving the material available on Spotify, the single “Can’t Hide” and your super silky rendition of “So Excited.” What is your approach to developing songs and melodies – do you hum a tune into a voice reminder and build it out or just start strumming out notes. For those with no musical talent (ie: me) what’s the breakdown in approaching an original song and/vs a redux?
It changes all the time. Lately, it’s been humming into a voice recorder while driving, not very safe but sometimes necessary. I think I wrote “Can’t Hide” a few years ago on my old Yamaha keyboard. It was originally a slow disco song with slide guitar and a weird key change. I changed it up and was gonna use it for another band I was in called Dr. Fadeaway. The drummer Sal suggested a more upbeat drumbeat he borrowed from The Cure. I took the song back and used it for Dev Ray! “I’m So Excited” started when I jokingly sang it out loud at work in a very monotone, blasé way. I later realized after playing the chords on the organ that it actually would work slow and the chord progression is just so beautiful.
Is there a full EP or album on the horizon?
I hope so! I definitely have enough songs for an album. If Dangerbird likes me enough and these singles do okay then hopefully they will let me do a full album and release it for me!
Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Best hole in the wall restaurant is Thai Pepper in Hollywood. I lived in Franklin Village for a while and was always on a budget. This place just west of Franklin Village by the 101 is so affordable and this little old lady with a hunchback runs the whole damn place herself.
Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
hmmmmm…waffles, cereal, mashed potatoes.
Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
I honestly don’t read as much as I would like to/used to but...Incognito: The Secret Lives Of The Brain by David Eagleman is the most fascinating book I have read in a while. It has to be the easiest read dealing with neuroscience out there. I also just watched a documentary on The Flaming Lips Soft Bulletin album on youtube and that was so fun.
What is a quality you admire in other people?
Humor, lots of it.
What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
Detroit. I am going there at the end of August! After that, I need to visit my friends in Washington.
Who is a person you would fan-boy over if you turned the corner and ran into them right now, and why?
Cecilia from Gothic Tropic. I would want to ask her how touring with Beck was and how she got that gig.
You’ve done a tour or two in your lifetime – what is an “on the road” story that comes to mind and makes you laugh or smile?
Touring with Nima from So Many Wizards is always a riot! I was especially making him crack up a lot during our last little desert tour. We were sitting in the back of the van together most of the time. On my first ever tour with So Many Wizards, we played SXSW 2013 alongside the band Social Studies. I made out with the lead singer/keyboard player Natalia and that always brings a smile to my face.
If you had the opportunity to Matrix download one subject (this includes the entire scope of said subject) into your brain – what would it be and why?
Tap dancing or ballroom dancing. I eventually want to learn every social dance there is.
Last three artists played on your preferred form of music consumption. (Spotify, iTunes, soundcloud, record player etc… )
Phoenix – Ti Amo, Deerhunter – Fading Frontier, Peter Gabriel – So, all CD’s in my car!
Wise parting words
You can put sunflower seeds in your yogurt, cereal, and sandwiches.
Those in the LA area can enjoy the musical stylings of Dev Ray in person at Taix French Restuarant during Echo Park Rising next Thursday, August 16th at 7 pm; and follow him on Instagram for more updates on upcoming shows and such.
*pictures of Dev Ray by photographer / artists – @lellopepper