Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Boyhood" Movie Review

Back in April, I had the good fortune to watch Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" at the Phoenix Film Festival.

Tip: If you want to watch an indie film before it's released, check out the film festivals near you. Great films are waiting to be discovered at film festivals.

I love Linklater. He wrote and directed "Before Sunrise" and directed its two sequels. That trilogy of films that shows love and its evolution over the years. God, those films are good.

Sidenote: Jesse and Celine forever!

Anyway, "Boyhood" was filmed over thirteen years. The same four main actors returned every year for a few days to shoot scenes for the film, which is about a boy growing up.

If you want to stop there, go ahead and miss a great film. Why is it great? Well, first, putting together the challenge of filming over thirteen years and having the patience to say, "It's not done yet" helps. The easy route would've been for Linklater to cast different boys at different stages of their life and film the whole thing in a few months. But then, you'd miss the point. You'd miss Ellar Coltrane go through growing up, his dramatic voice change, and, my personal favorite, his many hairstyles. There are also the small bits of popular culture that we'll all remember. Because the film was shot during these actual moments in time, they feel more authentic than re-created for the screen.

The beauty of "Boyhood" is that it's a simple story, even though the making of it wasn't. We meet Mason Junior at the age of about 5, living with his mother and his pain-in-the-ass older sister, Sam (played by Linklater's daughter). As the parents, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke are fantastic. They go through as much change as Mason does throughout the film. Despite them being already divorced at the beginning, each of them spends a good amount of time with Mason. The only person I wish we'd seen more of is Sam. She appears in a lot of the scenes, but her character doesn't feel fully fleshed-out as well as Mason's and the parents' do. But, then again, it's called "Boyhood" not "Girlhood."


Arquette is probably given the hardest role. A single mother who does her absolute best to provide and protect her children while also trying to survive in this harsh world. She is slowly betrayed and abandoned year after year. But she gets back up and continues to be optimistic. I'd love to see a supporting actress nod for Arquette. Her performance is filled with so much weight I felt like I wanted to help her carry something. Watch her tell her children they're moving and them arguing against it. It's exhausting and she shows us. Her final scene is heartbreaking.
Mason Sr.,  on the other hand, almost comes out as the hero in the story. He's the cool dad with the cool car. He's funny, charming, a musician. He enjoys his boyish years and then grows into a respected man.
The years are slowly etched into their faces. Every new scene includes a new wrinkle and some grey hairs for both. Again, something you wouldn't be able to appreciate fully if the film had been done in a short period of time. Makeup does a good job, but it can't replace real life.

But the real story is Mason's. He grows up probably thinking, "These adults are really fucked up." By the time he reaches his adolescent years, he's mostly determined to not follow in anyone's footsteps. You know, like most teenagers. Because, isn't that how they see us? We give them advice so they won't make the same mistakes we did, and there they go ignoring us and making the same mistakes.

It's the circle of life.

Mason rarely talks. He observes people's behaviors. He listens to his father, who actually makes good points in his many speeches in the film. He listens to everyone talk, even though we know and Mason knows that it's all a bunch of bullshit. Or maybe it's not, but at the time it is. There are moments when Mason is pushed, literally and figuratively, and you think you know how he's going to react. Those are the moments when Linklater forces us to think about our own psyche and our own beliefs about boys.

When I left the theater, I tweeted that watching "Boyhood" was like "watching my little brother's life." It's true. We live in an unfortunate world where we see or hear on the news mostly the bad things that young men do. But there are millions of young men out there just trying to get through boyhood.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oaxaca en mi Corazon

For someone who talks the big talk about traveling everywhere, I really haven't been to many places. Sure, I've driven through half of the states in the U.S. but really, I've only been to two countries: the U.S. and Mexico.

Ah to be able to visit Europe and see the great Roman Coliseum, the Eiffel Tower, and Big Ben. Or go to Asia and walk the Great Wall of China.

So far, these are just dreams I have. Because, frankly, I have very little money to travel, almost no time, and there is that little fear I have of flying. 

That hasn't stopped me from seeing some amazing places in the towns where I've set foot, and Oaxaca was no exception.

I went to Oaxaca for the 4th annual FilmFest as an officially selected screenwriter. Oh yeah, in case you missed it, or, as the kids say these days ICYMI, I'm a full-fledged screenwriter now. The baby that I've been carrying and slowly bringing up these past God-knows-how-many years is ready to see the world. So I submitted the script to competitions and film festivals and Oaxaca FilmFest was one of the first to pat me on the back and say, "You did a good job."

My initial plan was to take a week in Vallarta to relax, maybe grab a family member who wasn't too buys, and head to Oaxaca in week two. Lady Luck had other plans, however, and a month before my trip, I got a call from Clear Channel telling me I've won a weekend in Las Vegas.


I shit you not, I started to think that maybe God was sending me a sign that I shouldn't go to Oaxaca because Death was waiting for me. You see, I've inherited a bit of paranoia and it's a wonder I still leave my house every morning.

So now my plans were to drive to Vegas, enjoy two free days of concert-going and a free hotel room, drive back to Phoenix, pack, get on a bus and head South. I was to leave Phoenix late Sunday afternoon and get to Oaxaca early Tuesday afternoon.

Yeah, that did not happen. I want to interject here to say that the buses in Mexico are top-notch, luxury buses. This is no Greyhound. This is a plane on wheels. Totally comfy, with built-in WiFi, and televisions. I dare any airline to present me with a better seat at the same price.

The problem occurred once I was deep into Mexican territory. Puebla, to be exact. It was here, three hours from my destination, that the teachers' strike decided to close off the toll road. We were stopped, that means the driver actually sat with us and watched a movie, for three hours. Then we were detoured another three hours. After the smooth sailing I had experienced for almost two days, we have to climb up one of the highest mountains I've ever been on and face the aforementioned Death straight in the eyes. Holy fuckballs those are some scary curves at some insane heights. Our driver was frustrated, we were tired, hungry, and a little frightened. Luckily, we arrived in one piece.


Jesus, I made a total mistake not exchanging money at the border. Because, guess what, no one would take my dollars. I think everyone in Mexico knew the U.S. government was about to shut down and just basically said, "Yeah, let's not get involved." A very wonderful woman agreed to exchange $20.00 for me and I could not have been more grateful to her. Because of her I could pay a taxi to get to my hotel and pay for my dinner that night. I learned from her something that would prove true in the next five days: The people of Oaxaca are incredibly kind and generous. All of them.

It was finally time, six hours after I was supposed to arrive, to relax. But wait, the festival was going on. I'd already missed three events and if I'd stayed in, I'd have missed half of the events. So I decided to get out there and start shaking hands.

From the moment my script was chosen as an official selection to the festival, I started getting help from the organizers. They were helpful, professional, and extremely nice. When I arrived at the hotel, there was a package waiting for me with a map, itinerary, and my badge. Everything was organized down to the last detail.

That night I walked over to a bar where the shorts were being featured and the mezcal was running free. Yes, it was literally free. You don't want free mezcal. It's dangerous.

I made some good friends that first night. But I learned two things: One, I'm getting old and can't stay up past midnight anymore; and two, mezcal doesn't hit you 'til later. Plus, I wanted to explore Oaxaca in the morning and you can't do that tired and with a hangover.

Anyone who knows me knows that Puerto Vallarta is, to me, the most beautiful place in the world. That's because it's my home and it'll always be that small port where we caught fireflies and baby iguanas; the place where we'd spend Sundays out on the beach with a roasted chicken for a picnic; the place where my mom's childhood memories mix in with mine. Vallarta is no longer that place, unfortunately. It remains a small town only in my memory, because investors have come in and demolished the foliage and built their condos along the beach and into the sky. It's a tragedy, really. But this is the price of progress, I guess.
Oaxaca is still feels untouched by this. Or maybe it's because there is too much history that the town has been engulfed in protection. This is, after all, the place where the Zapotecs built their pyramids and where Benito Juarez was born. Though I doubt money-making scum have ever cared to crack open a history book, I'm grateful they've been left out of here. A woman at the market told me that they've fought to keep supermarkets and large companies out of the downtown area. Imagine a WalMart next to a 300 year-old church?

With a good pair of shoes and some change in your pocket, you can see all of the historic part of Oaxaca in a few days. My favorite place, of course, was the market. Walk in through the front entrance and stacks and stacks of bread cloud your vision. The women offered me several samples and, at first, I thought it to be too dry. As you continue to walk you're met by men and women showing you their menus and proclaiming that their spot is the best to eat at. I didn't doubt it for a second. I wish I could've eaten at all of the locations.

I tried three diners on separate occasions and the food was well-served, delicious, and made of fresh ingredients. All of them served me either cafe de olla, which is coffee made in a pot, or hot, foamy chocolate and a side of that dry bread which is delicious once dunked.

Sidenote: my mouth is watering at this very moment at the thought of such goodness.

Even the seafood cocktail I had was over-the-top fresh and delicious, I say this with amazement because we were at a six-hour drive away from the ocean.

The side entrances to the market are, well, a sausage fest :-) There were meats of every cut out on display and ready to be cooked to your specifications. Sausages, chorizo, whole chickens, etc. All of them just there for the taking. Perhaps a normal person would ask, "What about bacteria? Are there any sanitation inspectors here?"

I have no idea. I do know that around lunch time there were people lined up at all of the meat market posts buying. So I think it was all okay.

I can't express enough how good the food was in Oaxaca. My luggage was about 10 pounds heavier from all of the chocolate and mole I lugged back with me.

The festival itself was wonderful. The day after I arrived I dressed in my brand-spanking new business suit and pitched my script. It was nerve-racking.
About an hour before I was to pitch, I was informed that the video could only be 3 minutes long. I had researched for hours, taken down several notes, and prepared a 7 minute pitch. Luckily, I was one of the last people to go so I managed to trim it down.
We were told that we could look at our video and re-shoot if we wanted. I imagine myself sweating profusely, shaking uncontrollably, and outright mumbling for 3 minutes. So I opted for not seeing it and sending it off to the powers that be.
My pitch was the only thing I "had to do" during the festival. So the rest of my days were spent watching movies, making new friends, drinking, and talking about movies.
I absolutely love film festivals. It's the place where you can get together with other people who love films and the art of films and you geek out for days talking your film geekery.
I met directors, producers, and many of my fellow writers. There's no way the film industry will ever die if we give all of these brilliant people a chance to make their movie.

Among the people I met is a writer-director who presented his first full-length film at the festival. We are currently discussing how to bring my script to the big screen.

Totally worth the trip.

My cousin arrived two days after I did and we immediately decided that we were going to live in Oaxaca and never return to the States.

Right up until it was time to go, of course.

Maybe we'll still do it someday.

I love the fact that I had some family with me during the trip. We walked, we talked, we ate, and we partied together. I even got to play tour guide at Monte Alban, because I had been there the day before. Also, I got to take pictures after not being able to the because of stupid camera issues!

The final night was in a packed movie theater. Throughout the week, the event never felt like a competition. We were encouraged to see each other's films and talk to one another as colleagues, not competitors. I did meet a couple of the judges during my pitch, but other than that day, they were just people enjoying the festival with us.

So, needless to say, I was pretty shocked when they called my name for an award :-o

Yes, my first film festival and I won the award for Best Original Idea. That was quite a big, tasty cherry on top of my sundae. a big fat loser, I went back to my room right away. One, because I was wearing heels that hurt my feet, and two, I had to get up early to catch my bus.

I woke up early my last day in Oaxaca and ate breakfast in the Zocalo's plaza. The streets were quiet and the sun was shining. That's how I like to remember Oaxaca, happy and peaceful.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Intentions, Bad Decisions

I wasn't going to get too involved in this but since I can't get it out of my head I think the topic calls for a blog.

For the past couple of weeks I've been seeing ads on television about a new show from Eva Longoria called "Devious Maids."

First reaction: That looks dumb.

I hadn't noticed at first that all of the maids were Latinas (probably because I wasn't paying that much attention). It took two or three commercials for me to sit up and take notice...and get a little angry.
Angry on several levels. As a Latina; as a writer trying to break the stereotypes of Latina(o) representation in the media; as a supporter of Eva Longoria; as a writer!

Closer to the premiere of the show I caught a couple of blog posts. The first was by Tanisha Ramirez in the Huffington Post, here. The second was by Alisa Valdes author of "The Dirty Girls Social Club" (read it here). Ms. Valdes is trying to raise $250,000 to turn her book into a movie because, according to her, she doesn't want the characters to undergo the "Hollywood treatment." To see what she means by that, watch this:

Eva Longoria went on to defend the show. Wait for it...I'm posting another
Needless to say, she defends the show with as much passion as Ramirez and Valdes used in criticizing it.

I don't blame Eva Longoria. Well, not completely. The show wasn't created by her. She is simply an executive producer, which basically means that she put her name behind the show probably so that the creator wouldn't get the backlash.

You're a real gentleman, Marc Cherry!

But I am seriously disappointed in her. How the meetings went, I don't know. What pretty words they told her to convince her that this was a good idea, I don't know that either. But I am pretty sure they sounded like the words she is throwing at us to convince us that what is happening is the right course of action. She is saying: let's not concentrate on the fact that they are maids, let's concentrate on the fact that there are FIVE Latinas carrying a primetime television show.

Perhaps years from now there will be a retrospective on Eva Longoria's career and they will say "she was a trailblazer, she put out the only television show with Latinas as the main protagonists." Years from now I'll still have a problem with it. I will continue to ask: Why did the maids have to be Latinas?

That's my main problem. Ms. Longoria believes that maids' stories are worth telling as much as the stories of doctors and lawyers. Fine, why do they have to be Latinas?
Because they wanted to give the opportunity to underrepresented actresses to appear on a primetime television show as the lead characters. Fine, why do they have to be maids?

You see the problem? Any way you argue the show it comes down to this: it is a stereotype that we are trying to break away from and with this show it has been reinforced. Eva Longoria, a prominent and well-respected Mexican-American, WITH POWER, chose to back THIS show. Let me just throw something else in the mix: she has her own production company. She could've gone back and said "listen, let's tweak this a little bit." This didn't have to happen.

But wait! You say. What if the show is a success? What if I'm judging it just on a few ads that I saw and Eva Longoria is actually a genius that saw a diamond in the rough. What if this is the beginning of a new era?

For you, dear reader, I bit the bullet and watched the pilot episode of "Devious Maids."

Beverly Hills. The place where heartless, rich, doped-up White people live (according to the show). And some guy named Alejandro. Alejandro is there so that we don't rant about the fact that all of the rich bosses are White. The show, much like Marc Cherry's "Desperate Housewives" (a genius, this guy), starts off with a mystery.

Oh no, wait, back up, it actually starts with this lady threatening the maid with...wait for it...DEPORTATION because the maid is sleeping with the rich, fat, asshole husband. Got it? Because in case you didn't know, all maids are not only Latinas, but also illegal aliens.

Eva Longoria: "Actually, we are trying to show that this is what people THINK of Latina maids. If you keep watching you'll see a character declare that she is, in fact, an American citizen. Did I mention two of our head writers are Latinas?" *pats self on back*


So the maid gets killed. In "Desperate Housewives" the show starts when one lady commits suicide and then tortures the audience with her voiceovers from the beyond. The font colors of the title are the same on both shows?

Marc Cherry deserves and Emmy!

Let's meet the other maids. I forgot their names. Please hold.

Marisol is the new maid on the block. She speaks English without an accent. Literally the boss-lady says "I've never met a maid without an accent."

Marisol is also the above-mentioned American citizen, AND she went to college (actually, what the boss says is, "You sound like you went to college"). Which means that she can't possibly be a real maid. Which *spoiler alert* she's not.

No one saw the issue with this? No. One?
My blood pressure is rising.

At first I thought Marisol was a cop investigating the murder. Now I think she works in the legal field...and she's investigating the murder. Which means that sometime in the future Evan Longoria will say, "I told you so."

And we will reply with, "You're still missing the point."

Zolla has a boss that uses a lot of drugs (Susan Lucci, who should also be upset about the typecasting). Her daughter Valentina is in love with the boss' son and she makes us all proud by throwing herself at him in every which way possible. I can already tell you where this is going both for Zolla and for her daughter.

Carmen works for Alejandro and she is an aspiring singer. I don't know what Alejandro does or is but all he is seen doing is working out and being protected by some lady. The only African-American on the show works for Alejandro and has the hots for Carmen.

Ten points if you can guess where that storyline is going?

And poor Rosie has to work taking care of her boss' little boy, while her own little boy is in Mexico and can't come over. There so much irony in this story it would make Alanis Morissette's head explode. They also have an overly dramatic telephone call in the first episode, which did not melt my cold heart but rather made me roll my tired eyes.

Now that I think about it, these stories are stereotypical regardless of the maids' race. Which begs the question...say it with me, I know you can...WHY DO THEY HAVE TO BE LATINAS?

Did I mention the soundtrack? Let me just say that I don't know what goes on in your guys' head, but I'm pretty sure flamenco guitars and maracas don't play ever time I walk into a room. I like to hum the Imperial March sometimes when I walk :-D

PS - I know the pilot is a setup to the stories, but we only got to see one of the maids go home. Which means that those "stories to tell" are probably going to end up being workplace gossip. Curious, I wonder if they could've done the same setup in an office? hmmmm...

PPS - I just read a great article in EW magazine on Michael B. Jordan. He's a fantastic actor who starred in "Friday Night Lights" and "Chronicle." Mr. Jordan, an African-American, is on the shortlist to play Johnny Storm in the new "Fantastic Four" movie.

THAT is progress. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Three Decades

After today, I will have completed three decades of life on this tiny planet. A small blip in Earth's history, to be sure. What's 30 years compared to billions? Hell, what's 30 years compared to people who have lived twice that long? Three times?

Perhaps nothing. But for the person who's lived it, it means something considerable. It means, first of all, that I've managed to stay in one piece, mentally and physically.

Sidenote: In my family we believe that we are meant to live only the time God has granted us. So I just have to stay sane.

It also means that my accomplishments mean something. I haven't discovered a cure for the C word, or any other disease; I'm not a great athlete; in fact I have no above-average talent to speak of; but our lives are not without meaning.

From what I can gather, I was an "oops" baby. It's okay, if we took a survey, most of us are "oops" babies. At least I wasn't a "holy shit, what are we going to do?" baby. My parents were young but with solid heads on their shoulders. I have to say, it honestly takes a lot of courage to accept that your life is about to change forever and face it head on. I mean, if I found out I was pregnant tomorrow (nine years older than my mom was when I came along) I wouldn't necessarily shit my pants...but I'd probably shart a little.

Did I mention I was the ugliest baby born that year? Yeah, they still kept me. Good people my parents. That, or the nurses caught them sneaking out of the hospital and stopped them.

I grew up privileged. Not rich, privileged. I was spoiled rotten by my large extended family. It helps when you're born at the beginning of your generation. I've lived in large houses. I've seen Christmas trees that are so big they bend at the ceiling. We used to have massive Easter egg hunts on my aunt's property. I used to point at something and it somehow found its way into my hands (not like magic, but, yes, just like magic). We'd eat out all the time, good restaurants too.
Humbleness is a necessary lesson, don't you think?

We moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico when I was in third grade. Imagine going from a being a stellar public school student, to being the new kid in a Catholic school who can't read or write the language.

Sidenote numero 2: My parents spoke only Spanish to us in our home. So, although Spanish was my first language, English was a very close second thanks to my cousins, school, and television (Sesame Street).

I struggled, as anyone would. But I pulled through.

After that we moved almost every year. WAIT, before you start playing the tiny violin I want you to know that I loved it. You see, I never had friends. So moving every year was a welcome relief :-)

I've lived in Mexico, California, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, and now Arizona. I've driven across this country several times.

Because I was looking for my real mom ;-(

hahahaha no I wasn't. 9 out of 10 times my mom was with me. I get my gypsy nature from her. I got my nose from my dad.

Did I skip the part where I graduated with honors in high school and college? Oh yes, humbleness.

But, for the record, I did ;-)

College was the best time of my life. I got to live in school! I worked in the library! I was vice-president of the business club!

**crickets chirping**

Okay, okay, I got very very drunk once and threw up in front of everybody.

Yes, once. Get over it. I didn't rack up thousands of dollars in student loan debt so I could drink away four years of my life. I'll have nothing to look forward to when I have my mid-life crisis.

Today I work in a windowless office and I'm a moderate drinker. I own my own house (once I pay it off) and I have good credit. I'm back in college to take classes for the career that I truly want, not the one that just makes sense.

I do believe that at 30 I have accomplished the American Dream.

All kidding aside, I'm proud of everything I've experienced. Traveling, learning, meeting new people, getting stuck in small towns, touring big cities, laughing, crying, loving, and losing.

I have lived a fantastic 30 years so far. The kind of life that makes me feel like I got hit with a lucky stick, but that I also know took a lot of patience and hard work.

Hear's to 30 more years, God willing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No sir, I Like Big Bird

There was a statement in last night's debate made by Mr. Romney that made everyone sit up and pay attention.
"...I like Big Bird,.."- Mitt Romney
Twitter went crazy. In a matter of minutes, fake accounts were created in the name of Big Bird.
But there were probably a few people who weren't chuckling. Mainly the people at PBS who heard the presidential candidate say that, despite his fondness of the big yellow bird, he was going to cut the network's government subsidy.

Hmmm...that's kind of like when your boss calls you in on a Friday afternoon and says, "I like you John, you're a great guy. This is nothing personal, but we're making cuts and you're out. Sorry bud."

It's the nature of business, to lower spending and increase profits. That's how Mr. Romney sees the government, as a business; and he sees PBS as an expenditure that needs to be wiped out from the books. As a person that needs to be "let go."

Goodbye Big Bird, go somewhere else with your numbers and letters. Take your friends with you. Except for the Count, he'll be in charge of the Accounting department.

The Public Broadcasting System is not a person in a corporation using up resources. The Public Broadcasting System is a resource. It is as vital to this country's education as a computer is to an office.

I grew up watching Sesame Street as much as the next kid. And the ones before me. And I would hope the ones after me. I grew up in a Spanish-speaking home. Not because my parents didn't know English, but because they had a a clear idea of how their children would learn two languages: Spanish in the home, English in school. It worked. But when people ask me, as curious people are keen to ask, how I learned to speak English, I simply answer: Sesame Street. Because it is as true as the longer explanation. You see, after school my babysitter would take me home and sit me in front of the television with Sesame Street. School didn't end. I continued to learn.

We live in an unfortunate time where our education system is broken. Children are moved up in grades that they are not prepared for. They fall through cracks in the system. We are behind other countries in reading and math. Interesting, aren't those the primary things Big Bird and his neighbors teach? What about empathy? Common sense?

A television show is not a substitute for parents or teachers. No, but it can be an add-on to the education that a person is already getting, and I don't believe in cutting funds to education. Not for a child and for adults either. We don't stop learning because someone gave us a piece of paper and said "go forth and earn some money."

That money pays for bills. Bills that are necessary to our livelihood, and, frankly, cable television is not a necessary expenditure in my household. Do I suffer? No. You tell me you have the Travel Channel, well I have PBS and I travel through all of Europe. You say you learn new recipes all the time on the Food Network. Well I do too, on PBS we have America's Test Kitchen and I made the best fried chicken you've ever tasted the other day. Oh, you just learned something fascinating on the History Channel? Yeah, I watch History Detectives. There's also Nova, Nature, old episodes of Rob Ross painting "happy trees," and Half the Sky which puts focus on women around the world and the work that still needs to be done to create a true equality between the sexes.

I am a life-long student of PBS, and I will not be forced to stop attending their school because someone deemed their funding unnecessary. You will tell me, perhaps, that I should go somewhere else to continue my education, and pay for it. You will tell me that the government is not responsible for me. I can assure you that I know. I paid for my education and I pay my taxes. I am not asking for free television. I am stating what I want. Because Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are applying for a job, and I am a board member, as well as every voting citizen in this country. As a board member I say this: I will not vote against my education and our children's education.

I will not vote against the Public Broadcasting System.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

There are Plenty of Fish in the Internet

I just wish I could start a relationship about twelve years in, when you really don't have to try anymore, and you can just sit around together and goof on TV shows, and then go to bed without anybody trying any funny business.
-Liz Lemon
I do this for you, my faithful readers ;-)
How many dating websites are there? Umm.. probably thousands. All of them proclaiming that they can do the one thing you are incapable of doing yourself: finding a mate.
Solely for research purposes, I tried out four websites:, Plentyoffish, eHarmony, and OKCupid.
I just want to point out that it is a pain in the ass filling out the information over and over again. It comes to the point where you say "Let me search already! I don't want to talk about myself anymore."

PS - Finding a job is not all that different than finding a match online. There are thousands of sites and in each of them you have to fill in the same information over and over and over again.

Hmmm... they should put them together. Find a date and a job! Or one of the two.

First off is one of the first dating websites to appear on the Internets. It proclaims to be "The Leading Online Dating Site." O-kay. That's probably why it costs a lot of money. Right off the bat I thought this site was a pain. It tricks you.
And I hate to be tricked.
You see, it lets you do everything for free. You create a profile, you search for people, you can send "winks," BUT when you receive something it doesn't even tell you who it's from. So you're torn. Do I pay money just to find out what that unread message says? What if it's my soulmate telling me he's found me? What if it's the same guy winking at me that I winked at?
What if it's just a random person you share no interest in? And the message isn't worth reading?
It goes on and on. Pretty much, if you don't have the cash don't even bother because you won't be able to communicate.

Plentyoffish is scary and full of scary people. I don't even like their website. It looks like the trashy bar on the corner Mugged Ave. and Death Dr. Just stay away from this site. I feel dirty just having signed up for it.
The only plus side is that it's completely free. You get what you pay for. I'm just saying.

Next up is eHarmony which is the most time-consuming of all the websites. It is the "#1 Most Trusted Site." I've been told that eHarmony is a website aimed at the general public but really run by some right-wing, ultra conservative group. I have no idea. I do remember seeing some ads a couple of years ago with people who weren't allowed to sign up for the site.
ANYWAY. The site claims that you will find your perfect match because they have this formula and they only match you with people who fit you best based on this formula.
Write that down, because it's going to be important, and hilarious, later.
Here is the good thing about eHarmony, they do free weekends every few months. So if you're signed up and you like your match then you have the option at some point to communicate. For free. I knew a girl that did this and she got a free dinner out of it.
That is, of course, if you get any matches. Which, after about two hours of answering all of their multiple choice questions (at one point I just clicked on the middle choice), and waiting impatiently for the thingy to search, it turns out I have...
Remember the time Ted Mosby went to that matchmaker and she found only four women for him and he felt all bad? Yeah, this was worse.
So the site gives me this little "hint" which basically says "stop being so picky." Okay, so I changed my parameters. I can date men that aren't as tall as I am. Sure.
So, I go in and change stuff again. I can convince a smoker to stop smoking.
Hmmm... I can date someone that lives in Timbuktu.

eHarmony boasts that it has 20 million registered users.

And you guys don't think I'm cursed. I'm laughing on the inside.

I want to mention that the only flaw I see in eHarmony's site is that you can't search on your own. You plug in your parameters and the site only gives you the matches that are of a high percentage with your answers. So, in theory, they think that they're better at knowing what you want than you are.

On to the next and my favorite of the four: OKCupid. I read about this site last year when I was very sick and this guy wrote a Glamour article about dating. Or it was about something, but the point is he ended up dating. Only thing I got out of the article was OKCupid.
So I went on the site. First of all, it's completely free. I love it already.When you have to pay to find a person to have a conversation with it just seems...what's the word I'm looking for...dirty. Part of the fun thing about this site is that the tools/help/menu is full of sarcasm. Like when I rate a person's profile too low it says "You're not picky." hee hee hee
Much like eHarmony, OKCupid uses a formula to find you matches. Unlike eHarmony, these questions are actually fun to answer. They're questions about ethics, logic, religion, sex, and personal beliefs. Some are made by the website designers and some by users.

What's that you say, you want an example? Okay, a simple one is, "Do you find glasses on the opposite sex attractive?" Yes, No, No Preference. Then you can put down what the answer you prefer your match to have. Yes, No, No Preference. But another question might be, "How willing are you to try new things in the bedroom?" You can also add comments if you feel the need to explain yourself or to be really funny.

Just a note: You don't have to answer the questions. Or you can choose to skip the ones you prefer not to answer.

The site then sends you "quiver matches" based on the criteria you're looking for in a mate and your answers. But the best part is that you can do your own search on the side and go through people's profiles. Why not? Sometimes the formula won't work. Why? Because it's a series of questions that only have two or three options. The world isn't black and white people. You cannot put together a World Series team with pure science.

Er...You guys have seen "Moneyball," right? No? Because it's really good.

Now, here's the bad side of OKCupid: Although it's "The Fastest-Growing Dating Site" it still only has a few members. Seven million to be exact. And since it's also a social-networking site on the side (which, you can link to your Facebook account) that means that the singles pool gets even shallower. **le sigh**

What I found as an advantage is that it seems that all of the geeks and nerds (aka my soul mates) have flocked to this site. Only a couple of guys that have messaged me have been creeps.

Really? You think "You should get wit me" is going to work? That's not even proper spelling and grammar!

So have I had any luck? Um...Good luck? No. Bad luck? Yes :-(
Which brings me back to why I don't think online dating works as a whole. It's great way to make friends and talk to people and share your beliefs and interests. But I'm a firm believer in physical attraction. Okay, fine, yes, it sounds shallow but it's not. You cannot have a working relationship with a partner without sex, and sex is about physical attraction. Now, if I happen to find a guy that I like on paper AND have physical attraction to... Well now we're talking!!

The best thing I can say for online dating sites is that they open the door to new possibilities. But it doesn't solve the dating dilemma. Which is that we're all cowards and fear rejection :-/

Here are a few tips if any of you should decide to try these or any other dating site:
- Do not put your name or anything private in your profile. doesn't allow this (they make you go through an approval process before you can make your profile public) but OKCupid and PlentyofFish aren't strict. Remember, once you sign up you basically have an e-mail address with the site. So just use that.
- Don't link your social networking account to the site. It just means that people can look at your private information (Facebook uses your real name). Also, I read somewhere that if you "check in" to a place your suitors/stalkers can see you.
- You don't have to answer everyone that e-mails you. They'll get the point. Also, don't expect everyone to answer your e-mails. Get the point ;-)
- Have fun. Whatever you do, don't start your profile with the words "I don't know what to write on here." Really? It says at the top "Tell Us Something About You." I must say that the best profiles are done be writers and sarcastic folk. If you need help just ask a friend. I'm sure something funny has happened to you in your life. Start with that.
- Don't be ashamed. Did you not see the numbers? MILLIONS of people have their profile out there. MILLIONS of people are single in this country alone. Let's stop the madness. So you had to go on the Internet to find a date. Big deal. Some people buy their groceries online. Their clothes too. Adult toys. Why the shame? The internet is part of our lives now, just remember that it's not your WHOLE life. You are a human being who needs human interaction. Use the Internet as one tool of many.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's In The Cards

New Year! Wooooohooooo!

Not that 2011 was horrible but I'm ready for the new year. Why? Well because I'm all about starting things fresh and let's just say that I'm done with 2011. I got over the heartbreak (thank you Adele!), I got my ducks lined up at work, and I bought a new house.
It's like I'm standing at the starting line. On your marks, get set...
Yell "Go" already. Fire the gun.

Now I know that there are these rumors that 2012 will be a short-lived year for the entire human population. But seeing as though the end of the world has been predicted at least half a dozen times in just my lifetime, I'm going to be positive and just say that "que sera, sera."

On that same note, however, it's important to go forth with at least some clue as to where you're going.

Sidenote: Do you see how I've grown? The old me would've just gotten in the car and started driving. Good times :-)

So for this blog I've decided that instead of writing down the usual resolutions that I'd look to the cards to get a glimpse not of the future, but of what fate might have in store for me.

Here we go:

So let me start that I got mostly wands and pentacles which happens to me every time I've had a reading. Wands represent passion and pentacles represent health and money (yay). And also the card that I always, always get is a Queen. This time there are three.

First Card (General environment) - Queen of Swords upside down. This means that right now I'm having some communication issues. No kidding. Okay, let's see: I can't get my ideas down on paper, I get tongue-tied whenever I come across a guy I like, and, well, I let my hot temper get in the way of some very important things I wanted to say to certain people.
Yes, I'll agree this is true.

Second Card (Influences and Obstacles) - And we have another Queen. This time the Queen of Wands. So we can say that I am my own obstacle and influence. I totally have to get my shit together.
Small recap: this card represents having charisma and drawing people in, passion. Because she is positioned next to my other Queen, it means that these qualities are tyring to get to me.

**sigh** I really have to get my act together.

Third Card (Goal or Destiny) - Ten of Pentacles upside down. I am going to lose all of my money. Well, that's the worst-case scenario. It could mean an inheritance that I thought existed is really not there or that I will be involved in arguments over money. It also means that I should stay out of the casino.

Fourth Card (Distant Past) - This card is what has influenced me and guess what it is about: money. The Page of Pentacles means messages about money.

Okay, let's put these two cards into perspective for a second. I've been influenced by a good message about money (the car, the house, the spending). Yet, my destiny warns that hard times are ahead.

Fifth Card (Recent Past) - Hey look, money. Five of Pentacles upside down. This card actually is not all that great when it's right-side up, except that there is hope. So it seems that my recent past contains no spirituality and/or friendship. Just loss.

Hmmm... I have to mildly disagree. But let's continue.

Sixth Card (Future Influence) - Remember, the charismatic Queen is my immediate influence. This card is my future influence. Nine of Wands upside down. Oh boy, it means that all of the energy I'm putting into a final battle will be fruitless. I will lose.

And now for card seven (my present position) - Death. I'm sure everyone knows that this card doesn't always represent death but rather change or transformation. Now, it's really curious that this is the card I got as my present position. Because it is also associate with my sign, Scorpio. It's no secret that I've changed a lot this year. Physically and mentally I'm a different person than last January.
Why not? Getting your heart ripped to pieces makes you humbler, more aware, and eventually stronger. And subsequent rejection just adds to the muscle power (totally going to rise out of this one and I will end you family curse).
Plus, I have a new job that I'm very comfortable with. I mean, I haven't gotten the urge to leave yet :-)
Then there's the little things like buying my house, making a home and putting down roots for the first time in my life. I even had a puppy for two days which I took care of as if it were a newborn child.
And speaking of newborns, my nephew will be born in just a few days.
Yes, transformations are definitely happening.

Eighth Card - (Environmental Factors) Or rather how I influence you and how you influence me. Eight of Wands. This card represents energy and how to use it without wasting nothing. Things will get done quickly and with energy to spare.
So the next time you're in line at Starbucks for ten minutes do us all a favor and decide what you want BEFORE you reach the counter. Thanks.

Ninth Card - (Inner Emotions) Another Queen, of Pentacles this time. Meaning that my inner desires are to be successful. Successful in life, in exercise, in everything.

Wow, this one was no surprise. But let's remember that my desire for success can backfire if I don't think before I act.

Okay, now the final card - This is the final result once all of the other nine cards are taken into consideration and if nothing deviates from the plan. The Page of Wands and I'm glad to say that it's right-side up. This card means that I will be getting a message about a trip, my career, or something relating to passion (??) or spirituality.
So once I'm done with my inner struggle and I lose all of my money, I'm getting a message. That's actually really exciting when you think about it.

Alright, this is what's in the cards for me for the coming year (or maybe the coming months). Stay tuned and we'll see what happens.
Happy New Year!