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Archive for the month “February, 2013”

What I Learned from Watching Murder She Wrote

I did not have a normal TV watching education as a kid.  I pretty much exclusively watched Nick at Nite, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Salute Your Shorts, cartoons, and old westerns when I was really young (like 8 years old).  This was due to a lack of cable TV, and the fact that we got about four channels via the rabbit ears on our TV, one of which was inexplicably Nickelodeon.   Later on I watched Star Trek, The Simpsons, Sliders, MTV (real music videos – especially the ones with pop-up facts) and Mystery Science Theater 3000.  When we finally got HBO I watched movies.  I never watched Buffy, Dawson’s Creek or anything considered normal for my age really.

With this background, it may be understandable why, when I was really young – I think 9? I got super into Murder She Wrote.  I’m not old enough that these were not reruns.  I was staying with my friend in Maine and her grandparents (who owned the cabin we were staying in) watched the summer reruns of Murder She Wrote religiously.   I never watched it after I left Maine, but that, warm rain, picking blueberries, and skinny dipping for the first time are the most memorable parts of that trip.

Thanks to Netflix, and the song “Murder She Wrote”, I remembered my long lost love.   Though I’m pretty sure the song has nothing to do with the tv show.  Unless I’m missing something and Jessica Fletcher changed her name to Maxine and got into reggae in a later season.

After watching several episodes in which Miss Marple… I mean Jessica Fletcher… solves more murders than a homicide detective is likely to see in one lifetime – many of which happen in a tiny town in Maine, I have come to several conclusions:

Never live in Maine.  Ever.

I had a great summer there when I was a kid, but apparently I was lucky to get away with my life.  Stephen King and Jessica Fletcher agree that people DIE in Maine ALL THE TIME.  Either by giant clown spider aliens, by rabies, or by plain ol’ murder, if you are in Maine YOU WILL DIE.  Don’t move to Maine people.  I’m getting a little freaked out that I live in a city which has the same name as a city in Maine – and I live on an entirely different coast to the fateful state.Jessica Fletcher

If you are old and single, you will get hit on

Jessica Fletcher is an older widow who writes murder mysteries.  But, everyone with a penis has a crush on her.  Even young men.  Except her relatives – obviously.

On a serious note, I think they were trying to portray her as a sexy, younger Miss Marple.  But not much younger.

People kiss a lot as a greeting on the East Coast

This must be a Northerners thing, because I have a lot of friends in Florida and they don’t kiss me to greet me.  Hug, yes, kiss, no.  Maybe it’s actually just something from the 80’s.

The obvious suspect is never the right person – especially if they are Jessica’s relative or if she really likes them

There’s like one episode where someone she really likes is the killer.  ONE.  In 12 seasons.  I have yet to watch all the seasons, but I believe the pattern holds true.

 Watch out for spazzy people

Jessica Fletcher is probably the spazziest person I’ve seen.  She is always chasing after people or clues, jogging in a flailing sort of way, forgetting appointments, having to rush to the phone as if answering that call were a matter of life and death, and more.  But, she is super observant and somehow writes one best seller after another to support her jet-setting, murder attracting life-style.

80’s clothes are coming back

Sorry. I was in denial, but after watching this show, I see the light.  80’s clothes are returning.

Writers are RICH, Bitch

Seriously. She must make BANK.  Maybe it’s just writers from Maine.  The ones that don’t die.

Jessica Fletcher’s family has a million children

She is everyone’s aunt.  But what can I say, I wish she were my aunt.  I might get arrested for a murder, but I know she’d get me acquitted in the nick of time.


What I Learned from Listening to Rap

Let me start this out by saying: a) there will probably be swearing in this post and b) I originally came from a family that mostly felt rap = crap – except Lauren Hill and Missy Elliot.

I grew up listening to whatever was on KROQ.  This included Blink 182, Eminem, Limp Bizkit (don’t tell me you didn’t listen to him, you did), Reel Big Fish, whatever.  Later on, my tastes were sculpted a bit by a short-lived musician boyfriend who made a lasting impression on my life with his musical preferences.  He got me into Death Cab for Cutie and the Decemberists.  He introduced me to a plethora of great artists who I still love today.  Right now I’m into Lindsey Stirling, Mumford and Sons, and more.  I’ve always been in love with the Beatles.  John and Paul can serenade me eight days a week.

Enter my husband.  A man who listens to TI, Andre Nickatina, Kanye West, Jay Z, Mac Dre, and more.  A man who has fond childhood memories of “The Thizzle Dance” and listening to 2Pac and Dr. Dre.  This is the man I love.

So, in the spirit of understanding what this fascination was all about, I decided to listen to some of his music.   The only caveat was that I would avoid songs about exploiting women or encouraging drug usage.  This will make me sound like a stuffy, middle aged woman, but I didn’t understand half the slang, so I found out later that some of what I listened to actually was about sex, drugs, and other unpleasantness.

When my husband and I were first going out, I had to make a couple of road trips to California.  The first was actually the day after we officially decided to go out.  He must have loved me then, because he let me borrow his ipod (known as the “Rypod”) for my two week trip to Los Angeles.  In this illustrious device were many a song I had never heard of and never want to hear again.  Some of which are songs he loves, so I won’t mention them by name.  BUT, while driving to San Francisco (I was stopping the night there) on my way to LA, I listened to a lot of rap.  I listened to rap all the way to LA, and I listened to rap on my way back to Portland. And there was one thing I learned.

Oh, the sights I have seen. This was in a gas station bathroom on my way to LA.

Oh, the sights I have seen. This was in a gas station bathroom on my way to LA.

What was this lesson?  Well, it came from a conglomeration of rap songs, but mainly from one that I actually encourage anyone to listen to.  It may not be as inspirational to all as it was to me, but I hope at least some take something good from it.  It’s the song by Aesop Rock called “No Regrets”.

This song epitomizes the attitude that all rappers portray.  That is an attitude of extreme self confidence.  I realized, while driving over Mount Shasta, windows down and music blaring (I was actually listening to Girl Talk at the time – a fantastic remixer), that rappers, like the honey badger, don’t give a shit.  Or at least they want us to believe that.  Not only that, they respect a girl with ‘tude.  If you have self confidence in anything, you are part way to making it.

On my way to Mt Shasta

On my way to Mt Shasta

This was an epiphany for me.  I had been an uncertain writer, hating some of my work, unwilling to share it, and almost pathologically unable to submit it, or to finish anything significant.  Since then, while I still have insecurities about my writing, I am at least willing to put myself out there, get rejected, and then put myself out there again.  In fact, there is really only one piece of imagery in my first published story that I like, and that’s the one I stole from reality.  However, it’s not the image my editor said he liked.  Go figure.

So, what can we take away from rappers?  They can at least put up a front of self confidence.  You may think they are the worst thing since moldy bread.  But they could give a shit what you think.  Or at least they act that way.  Or, as my grandfather once told my mom: “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit”.  He was on to something, and so are rappers.

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