Friday, April 5, 2013

Treading Water

Well, I've reached the next step in my grad school journey which is hauling ass across the country to the sunshiny state of California.  This is where things get interesting.  Why?  Well, I have no job and school starts in September.  So that's about 5 months of figuring ish out.  Of course, the first thing I'm doing is getting a job.  Somewhere that can allow me to pay my rent and hopefully be flexible enough to let me go to school.  Positive thinking starts now.

It's funny I was thinking about (of all things) the fact that I'm not a strong swimmer.  Not in the sense that I can't swim, but I have a hard time treading water.  When I think about my life, it kind of makes sense.  Right now, I feel like I have to tread water until school starts - which like I said, is not my strong suit.  Let's hope I start swimming again real soon!  Scratch that . . . I WILL start swimming soon!  Failure is NOT an option.


Monday, March 4, 2013

God is GOOD!!!! USC Update

After months of sweating, pulling my hair out and fighting off negativity like a ninja . . . drum roll please . . . I have been accepted into the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California.  So not only did I get accepted, but I was accepted by one of the most competitive programs at the school.  I can't wait to start buying up the paraphernalia.  As you know, this journey was not easy.  In fact, it was hella hard.  I had to put up with a lot of craziness and just hope that the outcome would end up like this.

It took 3 years, but I'm finally able to look back on my life and actually see all of the connections that have lead me to this moment.  Hindsight is truly 20/20 and to say that God didn't play a part in the way my life has went would be straight up cray.

Here's my story in a 4 year radius.  See if you can connect the dots.

2009 - I'd been applying to every editing job on the planet, but couldn't seem to get any work outside of the news station that I'd been at since I graduated college.  It was my dream to work in entertainment TV/Film but figured I needed to work in media in whatever capacity I could - which happened to be news so that's the only kind of jobs I applied to.

2010 - I quit my job of 6 years at said news station.  I was making good money but working a low level, soul draining job that I couldn't seem to get out of and despite all of my experience and high level references, I couldn't get a job anywhere else.  So I moved to Japan out of frustration, wanderlust and anger.  I met A LOT of really cool people from around the U.S. (mainly CA), bonded with them and kept in touch.

2011 - Still working in Japan.  Huge natural disaster.  Left Japan.  Came home and couldn't find a job.  I felt like I was back at square one, but it was worst because this time I wasn't stuck working for a news station - I had nothing.  I spent a ton of money going to networking events and applying to more news jobs and ended up with nothing. I went into a depression and decided never to apply to another news job again.

2012 - Started working on my own comedic web series as a way to "put myself out there."  Also started playing with the idea of going to grad school after I hit up Google and started researching all of my favorite movie producers and film directors.  Decided I would focus on applying to only 1 school and chose USC (after literally doing about 5 minutes of research) because I knew I wanted to move to CA and be closer to my friends that I met in Japan.  Also, LA IS Hollywood, the movie capital of the world…duh!   Got a job at LensCrafters while I worked on my web series and started studying for the GRE's.  Flew to CA to visit my friends and took a tour of the Cinematic Arts Department.  Came back and applied.  Got accepted onto a waiting list.  Doubled up the next semester and reapplied to 2 programs.

2013 - Made plans to move to CA regardless of whether I was accepted or not.  Set the date and gave my notice to LC.  Found out I was accepted to my dream program and here I am.  :-)

The story takes a lot of twists  but there are a few things that I'd like to mention.  When I took my initial tour of USC with my friend in California, she was adamant about my applying to the Peter Stark Producing program.  I was a little reluctant because I knew they only accepted 25 people per year.  Also, I knew that the Production program accepted like 60 people twice a year and that taking the GRE's wasn't a requirement so although I wanted very much to apply to the Peter Stark Producing program and it seemed to be right up my alley . . . I initially applied to the Production program that year.  I studied for and took the GRE's anyway (just in case.)  When winter came around and I found out I was accepted onto the Spring semester wait list for Production, I was still hopeful but decided to double up and at least apply to the Peter Stark Producing program.  Hell, I'd taken the GRE's . . . so why not?  Right?  So I did that and hoped for the best, although I can't really say I was on pins and needles.  I didn't even get a chance to do the first interview because the wait list was so long.  (I think I was person #303 or something).  Either way, I waited and waited and waited.

And this is when the negativity started to drift in.  People forgot that I was applying to grad school and just assumed that I didn't get in.  Others intimated that I was holding onto a dream and needed to snap out of it.  Some folks felt I was being unrealistic and should just focus on getting a job in CA.  I started to actually put more focus into Plan B at this point.

Then . . . the email.  They wanted an interview!  It wasn't the Production program, though.  It was the Peter Stark program.  The one that I'd sent my paperwork, GRE scores and essays to without putting my heart into it because I didn't want to risk the disappointment.  I was so in love with this program that I couldn't bear the thought of looking at it too hard for fear of being rejected.  So I did what I was supposed to do and backed away, emotionally.  And I STILL got in!!!

One thing that my S.O. always says is that once you tell people your dreams, you have to be willing to defend them.  And he is sooooo right!!!  I have never had to explain, defend and convince people of something so hard in my life.  People couldn't believe that I'd picked only one school and had plans of moving across the country to go there.  "What if you don't get in?"  "How are you going to pay for school?"  "What if you don't get in?"  "You only applied to ONE school?"  "Just one?"  "What if you don't get in?"  I didn't really have an answer for the "What if you don't get in?" question, because I wasn't counting on NOT getting in.

I read a Will Smith quote that said, "There's no reason to have a Plan B because it distracts from Plan A" and that was exactly how I felt.  There is no "what if?"  My fear was, what if I DO get in and I'm not prepared for that.  Either way, it was really hard looking people in the eye and telling them that I'd put it all on the line.  It was one of the most vulnerable feelings I'd ever had.  But the payoff was soooo worth it!!!

God knew what the deal was!  6 more months, baby!!!

USC bound!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Watch This!!!

Please watch the trailer for my new comedy web series!  It's funny, delightful and stars two very talented ladies.


Friday, December 21, 2012

When Does It Stop?

I have always hated being poor.  Growing up in the housing projects, going shopping at Salvation Army, waiting in the welfare line, using food stamps, depending on child support from my semi deadbeat dad - all of these scenarios were things that I couldn't wait to distance myself from when I became a grown up.  When I went to college, I had to work part-time in order to pay for everything that wasn't covered by scholarship or loans.  I'm not saying I had a bad childhood or anything, I'm just saying that sh** wasn't always easy - hell, nothing was easy.

So yeah, we've established that I hate/hated being poor.  With that said, sometimes I wonder if I am the only one in my family that feels this way.  I find that I am always lending money to my family.  Every other week, I am receiving a text from my mom asking for money.  It started years and years ago when I got my first job out of college.  I would chip in and pay for rent.  It was my first job making real money and I was happy to help because as long as I could remember, my family was struggling.  Unfortunately, around that time, my sister had just had her first baby.  After that, I lent my mother/sis who were living together a large sum of money.  Since then it's been a few hundred here and there every couple months.  Between this time I have been working different jobs and sometimes not working at all and now I'm working again.  But the only thing that never seems to change is the "crisis" that my family is constantly in.

As I type this, I feel guilty because how do you say to the person that raised you, "Why can't you get it together?"  She raised me to be the goal oriented, strong-minded person that I am.  I owe my work ethic and sense of morality to my mother.  It is because of her that I am NOT a hooker/drug addict walking the streets because I had no one that loved me at home.  I was shown a huge amount of love and support from my mother and I know for a fact that she would not and did not hesitate to provide for my sisters and I.  But after years of lending money here and there and listening to my mother's struggles as well as my sisters, I can't help but to wonder why everybody else is in such a jacked up situation.

Well, actually I lied.  I have an idea as to why.  My sisters have made a lot of really bad decisions leading them to situations in life that are hard to escape without some kind of tragedy.  So they are stuck.  And if they wanted to "get out" of the hole they've dug themselves into, they're going to have to make sacrifices that they aren't willing to make.  My mother, on the other hand had a really messed up childhood that caused her to make a lot of bad decisions that continue to affect her life and health to this day.  So I guess that's it.  I have a dysfunctional family.  I'm sure that this doesn't make me different from a good 99% of folks in the world because every family has its problems but there just doesn't seem to be an easy way out.

I've explored the options in my mind.  I was telling my one sister that we need to have an airing of grievances one day.  Just gather the whole family and have a conversation about what's really going on with everyone.  I plan to tell them about my goals and ask them what their goals are.  I want to know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel of despair.  But sometimes I think they don't realize that it's despair.  I called my mom up yesterday and asked her what's going on?  She said, "Nothing.  Why?" as nonchalant as could be.  I told her that she'd asked for money again and I'm wondering if everything is okay.  She told me that of course everything is okay and she just wanted some spending money to get her through the weeks until she got paid again because she doesn't have anything in the bank right now.  What kind of pissed me off about that is the fact that she didn't even understand that this was a problem.  It seemed like she didn't understand that this wasn't normal.  It's as if all of the years of living hand to mouth has left her feeling like having absolutely nothing is just a minor inconvenience that everyone faces.  I told her that I want everyone to be okay and if she's asking for money, that means that she's not okay and that things are not okay.  She said that I was over thinking it.  I know that my mother feels guilty about always having to ask me for money.  She said that she plans on paying me and my fiancee back one day.  I told her don't bother, just get herself together so she doesn't have to ask in the future.  She says, she'd rather just pay us back.  I didn't get it (and I still don't) but if that's what makes her feel better, then fine.

It's just that at that moment, I wanted her to think about the constant asking.  I wanted her to know that I am a person, not a bank.  I have things I have to pay for and save up for.  I have goals and plans that I am continuing to make sacrifices to achieve. I understand that things are hard but she has to show me that she is at least trying.  She has to come up with a plan and actually stick to it long enough to see it through.  My man-friend knows my mother's checking account number - that's how much money we put into her account on a regular basis.  There is nothing nonchalant or normal about that.  At some point, there's got to be some progress.

One thing that my man-friend says is, "You're always going to have problems.  There's no escaping that.  The objective is to improve the quality of your problems."  And I agree with him.  I would like to see an improvement in the quality of my family's problems.  My sister doesn't make enough money to pay for child care yet she works a job that is an hour away from her home (and that's not accounting for traffic) while driving a gas guzzling car.  There are a ton of sacrifices that she can make, but she is choosing not to make them and putting my mom in a situation that leaves her without a lot of freedom because she has to take care of my niece.  All of these things are things that need to be addressed.  I just have no idea how to address them without causing anger/hostility/tension in my family.

I guess that's a sacrifice that I'm not willing to make.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


So saddened by these events.  As you can see, it's taken me a few days to even work up the energy to write anything about the Connecticut school shooting. It's hard for me to see or hear about anything horrible happening to a child and to be honest, I haven't really thought about what has happened in detail because I can barely wrap my brain around it.  My prayers go out to everyone involved and I hope that the families and friends of those who were lost to this tragedy can find the inner strength to move forward.  When something like this happens you can't help but to start thinking about how it could have been prevented.  I think about it quite a bit, but in my opinion, Americans will continue to see these types of tragedies if we don't change our thinking on violence, guns and the mentally unstable.

My opinion . . .

Violence - Is glorified everywhere.  The news, TV shows, movies.  We treat murderers like super villains and the excessive media coverage makes it appealing for a psychopath to seek notoriety through taking their crimes to the next level.  Anything for the attention that seems to be guaranteed.

Guns - Should not be accessible to any and everybody.  Period.  It shouldn't be as easy as it is to be the victim of gun violence.  Most people couldn't be trusted with a pocket knife much less a gun.  And there have been so many studies that have proven that just touching a gun makes people more violent.  Why are we not understanding that?  Why are the lives of everyday people in the hands of other everyday people?

Mentally unstable - Should be profiled and watched.  Violent threats and violent people should be taken more seriously/ monitored closely.  Muslims are profiled, black men are profiled, Hispanics are profiled . . . but the people that commit these mass murders are not?  I think it's time to stop being racially insensitive when it's convenient and start focusing on the profiles of the people who are committing these kind of crimes.  And we all know the profile.

So that's it.  I don't mean to offend anyone because I understand that the world can be a dangerous place, but as a country we can't blame anyone but ourselves for these types of things.  Violence is not something that can be confined to "certain" neighborhoods and if it is allowed to exist anywhere, it exists everywhere.  We've got to do different.  And if we don't start to change the way we do things in this country, then all of the innocent people that have died through senseless gun violence have died in vain.

Just my thoughts.

Wicked Games

Watching music videos the other day I came across the song Wicked Games by The Weeknd.  I love the sound of the song and I think the video is really artistic and unique - and the production looks surprisingly simple.  When it gets down to it, however, I am a lyric person because I want to know exactly what I'm singing.  So I'm listening to this song and not getting it at all.  It sounds dark and twisted as hell.  Definitely not a "happy" song.  So I looked it up.  Here are the lyrics.

I left my girl back home
I don't love her no more
And she'll never fucking know that
These fucking eyes that I'm staring at
Let me see that ass
Look at all this cash
And I emptied out my cards to her
Now I'm fucking leaning on that

Bring your love baby I could bring my shame
Bring the drugs baby I could bring my pain
I got my heart right here
I got my scars right here
Bring the cups baby I could bring the drank
Bring your body baby I could bring you fame
And that's my motherf*cking words too
Just let me motherf*cking love you

Listen ma I'll give you all I got
Get me off of this
I need confidence in myself
Listen ma I'l give you all of me
Give me all of it
I need all of it to myself

So tell me you love me
Only for tonight
Only for one night
Even though you don't love me
Just tell me you love me
I'll give you what I need
I'll give you all of me
Even though you don't love me

Let me see you dance
I love to watch you dance
Take you down another level
And get you dancing with the devil
Take a shot of this
But I'm warning you
I'm on that shit you can't smell baby
So put down your perfume

Bring you love baby I could bring my shame
Bring the drugs baby I could bring my pain
I got my heart right here
I got muy scars right here
Bring the cups baby I could bring the drank
Bring your body baby I could bring you fame
And that's my motherf*cking word too
So let me motherf*cking love you

Listen ma I'll give you all I got
Get me off of this
I need confidence in myself
Listen ma I'll give you all of me
Give me all of it
I need all of it to myself

So tell me you love me
Only for tonight
Only for one night
Even though you don't love me
Juste tell me you love me
I'll give you what I need
I'll give you all of me
Even though you don't love me

It seems like lyrics have been getting more artistic lately.  Anywho, I'm thinking the song is like a confessional.  He's pretty-much singing about the things that 99.9% of basic rappers rap about - strippers, getting drunk/high, debauchery, what-have-you.  But throughout the song he's confessing the vulnerability that someone in that lifestyle has.  "Bring your love baby, I could bring my shame."  "Even though you don't love me, just tell me you love me."  "I need confidence in myself."

These are not things that a man sitting up in the King of Diamonds would openly shout at a stripper.  (Or maybe they do.  I don't know - I don't strip . . . in public.)  Regardless, that just popped into my mind and I thought I'd share that with the world.  What are your thoughts on the lyrics to this song?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Diet

So I am again on a diet.  It all started after my Facebook creeping.  I deactivated my page a month ago so I could concentrate on applying to grad school, but after submitting my app last month, I've been slowly getting back on.  Well, lately, I've noticed my cousin with a body of steel.  She's been taking a million pictures looking intensely at the camera with bulging biceps and a rock hard six pack.  All of her posts are about getting fit and she documents her visits to the gym along with unfortunate members of my family who are apparently being dragged along by her at 6am in the morning.  There's this guy that comments on all of her posts like, "Go hard or go home!" and stuff like that.  The posts have been getting more intense as the months go on and it cracks me up, but I'm not going to lie - I want that six pack.  I want it bad.  Reeeal bad!!!

A couple weeks ago I worked a black tie dinner and asked one of my best friends to come along and volunteer.  I had to squeeze some spanks on so I could get into my dress without looking like a sausage and I noticed that my friend was looking a little thick as well.  We've known each other for a long time (about 11 years) and she's always been a really slim girl - actually, we've both always been slim.  So she was telling me that she's trying to lose some weight and being that my friend is a Type A personality, when she says she's going to do something, she always has some elaborate plan set up to get it done.  So I said, "Cool!  I want to lose weight too!  What's the plan? Let's work together."  Although, she was nice about it - she gave me a "You're on your own partner" kind of reply.  "I'm going to just talk to my dietician and he's probably going to put me on a low carb regimen.  And I'll also hit up the gym."
Me - "Oh."  (air completely deflated from my balloon.)  (Also thinking to myself, a dietician?  Well excuuuuuuuse me!)
So at that point, I decided to use the knowledge I'd acquired over the years and make my diet up.  So my diet at this point consists of counting calories and sticking to a diet high on protein and fiber, eating more fruit and veggies than meat and the only meat I'm eating is chicken and fish.  I heard that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise.  So I've greatly decreased my calorie intake while also increasing the amount of times I eat per day.  I've been eating every three hours starting at 6:30am.
So that's 6:30am
And maybe 9:30pm if I get hungry.

Also, I'm hitting the gym everyday and doing as many sit-ups as my stomach will allow along with some cardio and a whole lot of calisthenics and weight lifting.  I'm sitting here as sore as can be but something funny is happening.  I am not as hungry as I thought I'd be.  AND one thing that I never could have imagined is on my side.  My laziness.  You see, even when I am hungry - I don't have the willpower to get up and cook a healthy meal so I just sit and snack on almonds and drink a ton of water.  Either way, the weight is not exactly melting off but the muscle is definitely starting to reveal itself a little so that works for me, I guess.  I do crave cakes and pies but I want that six pack more - so we'll see which one wins out.

All right, that's all I got.  G'nite!!!