Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Another unsolved mystery: Why can’t other races make Kool-Aid?

 My apologies for generalizing and being a hypocrite as I usually rage against racial generalizations with the utmost resolve that they’re utter nonsense. Yet here I stand having become the very thing I despise. Of course I know that not all black people are capable of concocting an exemplary cup of Kool-Aid. And of course, of course, of course there are other races more than apt at making an exceptional batch of the well-known sugary elixir that was the staple of our child hoods.
For example I once had the pleasure of knowing a southern ham roasting, sausage/gravy and biscuit cooking, vegetarian, pot smoking staunch right wing conservative white woman who I’d be willing to bet could brew a hell of a cup of Kook-Aid(An untested theory as I never sampled her efforts but she  seemed to be an anomaly in every other right so…) but that’s just a guess and that’s precisely what the rest of this missive will be, guesswork mixed with my own very limited experiences.
  First things first I’m not just singling out white folks in my flavorless Kool-Aid tirade. I’ve actually met three Mexicans and a Puerto Rican (All of whom could throw down in the kitchen) who couldn’t make a passable cup of Kool-Aid. That’s right, the purveyors of spicy beans, rice, meat and peppers couldn’t manage to mix sugar, water a flavor packet and food coloring. Tasting their efforts made me want to ask them, “Who hurt you?” I didn’t though because that would have been rude. Good news though. I’m not just here to make unfounded accusations and denunciations of other races’ Kool-Aid making prowess.
    Many black people, (especially the older ones) would have you simply eyeball the sugar to water ratio. While I’ve had countless years to master this technique others haven’t been so fortunate so I’ll go ahead and share a little secret. Now come on and lean in, make sure no one is around…you can in fact follow the instruction on the packet to create a flavorful cup of Kool-Aid. I know, I know, I know that you think you’ve been doing exactly that all these years but you haven’t. You’ve used the exact measure of sugar suggested on the package but…you’ve never bothered to calculated the recommended measurement of water. Also remember when using a larger picture you have to use two packets and double the amount of water AND SUGAR., Now go on and use your new found knowledge of Kool-Aid science. You’re welcome.


Okay so I'm gonna nerd out on you guys today . . . 

So I watched this movie on Netflix called For The Love of Spock and it was actually pretty interesting! Now I'm definitely guilty of loving some Star Trek! I know I wrote a blog about it when I come to think about it . . . it's called Live Long and Prosper if you want to go check it out . . . Now before you just go thinking that this is something that you can't enjoy, go check out Star Trek Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. Like all shows in the beginning episodes the actors are still getting into their characters so you many have to watch a couple before you get sucked in. Besides aliens and space, the epic series has a great way of addressing important concepts and bringing up societies issues without making it feel like a lesson. The setting is a couple hundred years in the future, the Earth has achieved world peace and humans are exploring the galaxy and the different species that are foreign to them. They have to figure out when to interfere, communication, cooperation, acceptance, and how to bridge the gaps between the ocean of differences between them and the species they encounter. They are forced to think outside the box, create novel solutions, and figure out how to coexist with other species that are vastly different from anything human. Just like when two strangers now from two different countries meet, people find a way to come together and in optimal situations, learn from each other. The show touches on tolerance and understanding . . . morals . . . how to treat people who are different . . . the concept of ethnocentricity . . .  environmentalism and sooooo much more! Hmmm . . . a lot of parallels . . . right! 

Now when it comes to this documentary, it explores the character Spock, from the first Star Trek series and his iconic effect on the entire culture. It also gives the biography and interview clips of the actor, Leonard Nimroy, who played him which gives you a sense of who Spock really was and what went into playing a character like him. If you don't know, Spock is a half human, half Vulcan (alien) who serves aboard a star ship. He has some of the characteristics of humans but he is also Vulcan so he looks a little different from the pointy ears to the green blood. Another trait of the Vulcan is that their species are known for their expert emotional suppression. So while the emotions of humans are very much like a roller coaster, it would appear that for a Vulcan they are very . . . collected . . . at all times. They believe that logic is the key to life and so they are a very scientific based society. So within the series you will see him try to keep his balance, question his humanity, and explore life aboard the ship as an outcast. No matter how well his relationships with the others on board become, he is well aware that he is not the same as them. Now I wasn't around for the Spock craze but to this day just about everyone knows the Vulcan V shaped hand gesture even if they aren't familiar with where it is from. What was it about Spock that made him such an icon?

"Live long and prosper"

Now a lot of us out here are feeling isolated in our own little bubbles . . . every once in a while . . . even if you don't want to admit it. Sometimes you just end up being the black sheep in a herd of fluffy white flock and that's how Spock felt as the only Vulcan with this all human crew. Now although he was half human, any multiracial child will tell you that just sharing some of the same genetic make up with someone doesn't mean they think you belong nor see you as being the same as them. Essentially this was Spock. There's an intriguing aspect of him that he was constantly keeping his emotions in check. How many times have you felt overwhelmed with how you were feeling? For him, being in control and restraining those primal instincts were just a part of the Vulcan life. Some people will wish they were more like him. His character could also represent someone who was intelligent and was always looking to acquire more knowledge. Spock had morals, honor, and dignity . . . just some of the few attributes that many of us would hold in high esteem. It's easy to see how fans would aspire to take on some of those traits. So for the society at the time who had not seen a character quite like this, they felt a connection with him and to the point that some even wanted to emulate him in dress and manner. When you watch this movie, you not only get to understand Spock, the Vulcan, but you hear about Nimroy and how he helped developed this character and ultimately affect the entire science fiction culture. You will also hear about his life behind the scenes from his family. The struggles he face trying to balance work and home, turning off and on the character and what were some of the inspirations that gave birth to an icon.

You may not be a Star Trek fan or someone remotely interested in science fiction but this was definitely an interesting watch. The actress in me is fascinated with the whole process of how he created this character and thought of the smallest details to embody this alien/outsider. The anthropologist in me is curious about the reasons why people gravitated so heavily to his character. What made Spock iconic as opposed to Captain Kirk or any other character was that Spock, as the outsider, had the ability to transcend multiple categories such as age, race, socio-economic standings and gender. It's amazing. Just to think, Leonard Nimroy didn't set out to embody a science fiction icon . . .  nor did he know when he initially started filming how big that show would impact the culture. One of the humorous scenes from the movie is from a show that Nimroy was reading the audience the critics review of the show when it first came out. Star Trek initially got horrible reviews and no one could have ever predict that it would still be an active part of the culture decades later. That just goes to show you that you can never know where your individual river of life will lead you. Although you think you are just doing something insignificant, you can't be sure who is receptive of you and what impacts you are making for someone else.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Netflix and Binge

I am applauding Netflix. Clap! Clap! Clap! 

You guys are doing GREAT! Not only are they producing great series for us to binge and crave but they are also bringing us great television series from around the world! There are several shows on there that I have completely lost myself away to that were not in English and they were GREAT shows! In the ethnocentric country we live in, having access to shows from other countries is a blessing that many others overlook. There's so much we can learn from the shows that we wouldn't know unless we went there ourselves. Of course, everything but be taken with several grains of salt because we know what kind of shit show our country looks like just judging us off our television and movies.

Now I know a lot of you groan because you don't like to read subtitles but really now . . . Society for the most part has stopped reading books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, BLOGS, the labels on your medicine . . . etc. No one reads anymore. They just want the quick fix, the "painless" amusement that is over within an hour or so. Our attention spans don't carry us over through a 2 hour movie nonetheless a book. Well if we want to dumb ourselves down and set an example for the children, I will make sure not to include myself in that! And I hope you won't either! It's so interesting to see how other people live, think and what makes them unique. Societies form for many reasons and are comprised of so many different beliefs. What you will find is at the center core of it all . . . we all aren't so different after all. Essentially we all just want to be happy in our lives and find meaning in whatever we do.

So again, Netflix, I applaud you! Please bring us more good stuff and don't wait too long between the seasons of the series! Can I just tell you all the struggle of trying to find a season 2 of this Turkish show I've been hooked on lately! I finally found all 4 seasons but they don't have subtitles so I had to find the written out synopsis of the episodes someone was so kind enough to write on Facebook. Thank you kindly! Anyways, kudos and keep up the great work!!!

Shows I recommend: La Esclava Blanca, Magnificent Century, Lady: La Vendedora de Rosas, 3%, The Time In Between

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Bobby Brown: Put some respeek on his name.

  Usher, Chris Brown, Trey Songs, August Alsina, Jeremiah, and pretty much any aspiring R&B artist of this day, what do they all have in common? They're all using a certain archetype that includes a roguish bad boy attitude or guise if necessary, sexually suggestive dance moves and boy next door charge. Their true genius stems from the sheer simplicity of their personas and the fact that they are all so relatable. Any of them could be that cute ass fly guy next door who rocks all the newest cloths, haircuts, works out and always smells good. They represent a realistic fantasy for young girls everywhere.
   Yet we often hear these very artist credit the likes of Michael Jackson and Prince as their inspiration growing up when truthfully the aforementioned acts have literally nothing in common with the likes of Mike and Prince artistically. Whereas Mike and Prince were both eccentric having mimicked the pageantry people like James Brown, Earth, Wind, and Fire Frankie Beverly, and Maze used. On the other hand the artist of today are almost always mimicking none other than the king of R&B, Bobby Brown.
 Now sadly many of you just gave me the side eye. You may be thinking to yourself, how the fuck is crackish ass Bobby Brown the king of anything. Wasn’t he just Whitney’s Husband? Fame is a fickle beast. How quickly we forget what a super talent Bobby possessed in his heyday. We forgot the Bobby that attracted Whitney in the first place. I mean we still remember Whitney as the Diva she undoubtedly was and she was just as crackish as Bobby, (may she rest in peace.)
  So let us all remember Bobby Brown actually is the King of R&B. He cultivated the very style every R&B artist today is still using. He was the first one shirtless and gyrating on screaming fans, the first one humping the air, the first bad boy of R&B. Michael Jackson was the king of pop. Prince just was and Bobby Brown is the kang of R&B and let’s make sure we never forget it again. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Juice Squad: Turning on the Mic

So about six months ago me and four of my friends created a podcast that airs once a week on Sunday called Juice Sunday. It was named after the group we had named Juice Squad. The origins of the group was on the designation of juice names we had created for one another. Juice is a reference to someone that is attractive and has that charisma or "it" factor. No matter where we went, someone was always getting a number and the group members were so diverse that we had what ever shade of chocolate or personality type a man could desire. Thus juice was born. We had baby juice, OG juice, juice jr, juice supreme, and daddy juice. We would joke that we were going to have jerseys made with our juice names stitched on the back. It was great to have such nice group of ladies that were real and could have fun together. The conversations we had were so hilarious and real that we had the idea to create a podcast together to share the entertainment with others. Alas, not all the juice members would stay.You would find it amazing to find out that someone who you hung out with almost on a daily was not someone you would want to work with nor start a business with. So everyone didn't make it but I guess in all things that is to be expected.

Everyone assumes that all podcasting is is just simply "turning on the mic". Cute but they don't get to see all the hard work that goes into what we do. All the weekly meetings and brainstorming sessions plus all the documents and outlines, etc. Running a podcast on the side is a full time side job and proof of our hustle is in the success of our shows. Every episode is a learning curve and we are constantly trying to make the shows better and find new creative ideas so when people click the link to hear the show, it's not an hour of people having boring conversation. We want listeners to laugh, think, and connect with us and only using our voices without any visuals as a medium is an art. You either got it or you have to work many years to get it. Then besides content the energy and chemistry has to be there. Period. I don't care how interesting your theory of relativity is . . . if the deliver isn't there neither is the attention span of the audience. For me, this idea of radio came to me as a necessity. In my opinion, the radio stations in Austin leave sooooo much to desire for, that I thought about what it would take for me to scratch the surface of radio. So much so that I wrote a blog about it which you can read at the link below . . .

Anyways, it amazing how things manifest for you once you put them into the atmosphere. Besides doing just shows now we are trying to branch out into events, hosting gigs, and music showcases. We feel like we add just a little something different to this nightlife culture and you have to definitely check out one of our events just to get a real feel for it. As three black intelligent women in a world were we are the trend but we are not in . . . we are determine to break some stereotypes and make a name for ourselves. We know success is a grind and we put in the work 24-7. The world has become a crazy place but hopefully we can make a little ripple of good. So please check out our show, follow our FB @atxjuice, IG/twitter @atx_juice, atx juicesquad on google+ and youtube and follow our Soundcloud at the link below to check out our shows. We post information on our FB about upcoming events so if you are in the Austin area, please feel free to come check them out!