Freelancing for Dummies: When first world jobs collide with real workplace problems

Well, well, well, what do we have here? It appears we have a couple of “influencers” who’ve experienced a real world dilemma, bursting their dream job fantasy. Welcome to my world, it’s a bit of a pisser.

The other day while scrolling through Buzzfeed during a busy day of work, I came across a story on influencers not being paid by an influencer marketing agency (Christ, man) called Mediakix. My first thought was “that’s because it’s not a real job”. My next thought was “sucks to be them because this could potentially turn into a thing.”

If you’ve been following me you know how I feel about influencers: I don’t consider “influencing” – the act of getting people to follow you and do things you do or like because you appear cool but didn’t we get past this in high school I swear to god we never leave high school – to be an actual job. I don’t see what the appeal is over someone who’s only talent is posting different versions of the same photo with stupid captions.

HOWEVER, as stupid as I think it is they also get a tiny bit of acknowledgement that it is something and here’s why: there are plenty of gigs that started out as something that at one point probably didn’t make sense. If you go back to the beginning of typicaljenn.com, you’ll find posts where I’m ripping into social media marketers. I believe I referred to them as people who are really just unemployed, sitting on their couch playing that farm game on Facebook. Jump to about 6 years later and it’s part of what I do for a living (social media marketing not building a pretend farm).

I’m not above eating my words, I actually enjoy eating thank you very much.

Anyway, as fairytale as their job is, what’s not is their money problems and the fact that this isn’t anything new. Just like every meme on the internet, this bit has been done before. And unfortunately, I’ve witnessed it firsthand.

Back in the early 2000s, I was preparing to move and part of that process involved job hunting. I was moving to a bigger city than my hometown so instead of looking for a boring desk job, I sent my resume to a bunch of local talent agencies – and one actually called me back.

I interviewed for the receptionist position, got hired, and started my new, exciting, sure-to-make-me-famous job a week after moving. My first day began with me meeting the 3 people who worked in the office and being given my first important rule of the job: never let anyone talk to the bookkeeper.

For everyone out there, this is a red flag for ANY job you’re starting. But I was 20 at the time so I was like “ok cool”. I just figured she was busy doing number things. She was and those number things happened to be helping the owner of the agency embezzle from herself.

About a month after I started this job the bookkeeper quit without notice. I don’t know how long she’d been there but red flag number 2 is when the person handling the finances abruptly leaves. That left the owner to handle the books and that’s when things got really bad.

I would get, at minimum, 3 calls a day from talent asking where their money was, and this was after they’d waited standard 8 weeks for payment. I knew we’d gotten the money in but the owner was using it to pay her bills. And it’s not like we had talent booking feature films. They were booking, like, local modeling gigs and Church’s Chicken commercials. We weren’t making that influencer money.

At one point I had a woman tell me that our agency owed her over $10K. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. I know that’s chump change to some of the popular Insta-people but back then (shit, even now at least for me) 10 grand was a lot. And that was just ONE of the individuals we represented.

Every week the owner tried to get caught up but it wasn’t happening. On top of that, overhead was insanely high. I understood we needed to have some sort of presentation but I thought what effected our reputation the most was, you know, stealing from people.

We did have alternative ways of bringing in money but they weren’t anymore credible than the way the money was handled. The owner would convince people that they could be a model if they got head shots and took her modeling class, which people actually paid for.

I know we’re all about not body shaming but I’m telling you right now, you ain’t walking the Victoria’s Secret runway if you’re built like me (5’3″, thick legs from CrossFit, looks like a baby deer walking for the first time in heels – me and the deer). Watching the owner tell every person who came in our office they had a shot was disheartening at best, fucking criminal at worst.

To me, it’s no different than the assholes selling you on the MLM of the week, convincing you that you can actually make a decent living selling their shit online. You can’t. No, you can’t. End of discussion.

Anyway, in the article Buzzfeed reached out for comment and were told that Mediakix would no longer take contracts until the money was sorted out. I’m not sure how that would work for them. At the agency I was at, we constantly had to have money coming in to try and compensate everyone we owed. So if things are that bad off at Mediakix, I don’t know how you catch up not bringing anything in.

Again, I don’t know shit about this company or what got them into this conundrum so I’m not in a position to say if these influencers will get their money or not. I don’t work there, thank god because I looked at their website and it reminds me of the advertising agency I worked at where I once got in trouble for having a meeting in the “game room” because it prohibited 2 employees from playing ping pong. All I know is I’ve seen this before and it’s pretty shit cycle for everyone involved.

I myself have, on more than one occasion, been stiffed and it was a bag of bullshit. It even happened to me when I worked a for real job that required a W4. What I didn’t have that influencers do is a large platform with a huge following (for reasons I’ll never get – there’s no delineation between influencer accounts, they all look the same, people!).

So speak up. Put that shit out there. This goes for anyone who has a job, real or pretend. If you made an agreement and somebody owes you money, don’t let them skate on you. It is not your problem that they are bad with money management. It’s no different than promising someone work and not being able to do it because you couldn’t manage your time (something I’m also guilty of but that’s for another day). You’d be held accountable, right?

They should be held accountable too.

So go on. Use your social media power. You know, the same way you do when you convince people to buy that face serum that doesn’t work or when you make people think your life is glamorous because you posted a pic on a PJ but you actually just rented the PJ for an hour to take pics on. Like that. Go get ’em!

Watch This, Not That: His House vs. Things Heard and Seen

For the most part, the people in horror movies don’t have it so bad, with the exception of whatever’s trying to kill them. Whether they’re being chased by zombies, serial killers, or whatever demonic spirit they’ve let inhabit a doll, their story usually starts off in a nice house with a nice family and everyone including the toddlers have high-paying jobs. (No wonder the rest of the world hates us). So when Netflix released His House, a horror/drama hybrid, I was pleasantly surprised, and impressed.

His House tells the story of a couple seeking refuge after fleeing their native country: the war-torn South Sudan. They survive the horrendous ordeal and arrive in Britain, eventually receiving housing on the outskirts of London. But it’s not just a regular family home like all of the houses in Insidious. It’s a run down apartment that looks like it’s haunted by the last meth head that lived in it.

Meth head ghosts are the least of their concerns, though. Demons are what they’re fighting, and not just to save themselves but to save what they sacrificed everything for. What kind of demons are they? Who wins? You’ll have to watch this week’s Watch This to find out. Netflix’s His House will mess with your head, which I think we all can agree is the best when it comes to horror.

What isn’t the best is when you have a horror movie figured out in the first 10 minutes and then you have nothing to do for the remainder of the 2 hours. Yes, 2 hours. This week’s Not That was stretched 110 minutes too long and I sat through all of them. Netflix’s Things Heard and Seen features Amanda Seyfried who plays Catherine, a wife who’s given up her life to support the ambitions of her douche husband.

Right off the bat, we’re given insight that there’s something wrong in their marriage: Catherine has an eating disorder. That revelation is immediately followed by another one: Catherine’s husband George (James Norton) has a wandering eye.

Pretty soon, haunted things start happening. A rocking chair moves on its own. Their daughter sees a ghost lady. Catherine smells gas fumes. All of this freaks Catherine out, but then her husband’s colleague explains that it’s NBD, just a woman ghost who’s got her back. Empowered by her supernatural backup, she starts to make her way out of her shitty marriage. During the time she’s getting her groove back, she discovers that her husband is a liar, stole his cousin’s identity, is a cheater, and then also he commits a bunch of murder.

But, surprise!, the ghost men of the house are shit too. Just as Catherine learns everything that’s bad about George and is about to make her move, George drugs her. And, surprise again!, the lady ghost (whose real/ghost name is Ella) can’t help her because of her dick ex-husband ghost. So George kills Catherine. Then he gets away with it because he’s a man. But then he rides off into the ocean and gets killed by the devil? I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is I sat on my couch rolling my eyes for 2 hours proving that good horror movies are hard to come by, disproving that your eyes will get stuck that way. If you want to try it for yourself then watch Things Heard and Seen. Not responsible for loss of vision or interest.

Photo by screenrant.com

Adventures in Senior-Sitting: When Spring Break Goes Bad

I’m not sure what traumatized me into never wanting kids. Maybe it was realizing that kids equaled zero fun time. Or, that you had to be responsible for them forever. Or maybe it was something my grandma said: “your kids will be 3 times as bad as you.” No thanks. I was a nightmare, so bad that I didn’t even start liking myself until I was 30. I don’t need “younger me” amplified. So I opted out of having kids. Karma, however, found me and opted me in like every e-newsletter I never signed up for.

As most of you know, I inherited a teenager in the form of my 66-year-old father-in-law and it’s been a real barrel of laughs. One after school special after the next.

About a month ago, my FIL was sick but like most kids that have plans for spring break, he wasn’t about to suffer from FOMO. So off he went to Daytona Bike Week, coughing and wheezing his way there. Upon settling in his camp spot, he realized that, uh oh, the cable box in his motorhome wasn’t working. You see, the cable company didn’t shut off his box in his RV when he cancelled his subscription prior to moving in with us. They ended up fixing the glitch and it worked itself out on day 1 of his vacation.

Well, you know kids and their screens. He was so desperate for television he tried to get a box added to MY account (which I actually consider payback for the time I added my own land line to my parents account without permission). When the cable company declined, he called my husband and asked him to MAIL HIM THE BOX FROM HIS BEDROOM. We did not.

He managed to survive his lack of Matlock reruns however, when he arrived home there was something else that he was suffering from.

Yes. He came home with the VID.

And so began the great sickness of 2021. He was coughing non-stop and had zero energy, but he was pushing through. Now, if you asked every friend that he miraculously found the energy to call while he was being quarantined, he was on his death bed. Each night was sure to be his last. He couldn’t lift his head without going comatose from exhaustion. He could only breathe once an hour.

And eating? Forget it. If it wasn’t KFC he couldn’t keep it down, which I don’t remember reading on the CDC website so I suppose they’re due for an update. At one point I had my husband ask him if he needed anything from the grocery store. Grapes and orange juice was his request. Did my husband ask my FIL or my 3-year-old niece because that’s totally something she’d want as a snack.

A week into his illness, things took a turn in a matter of 2 phone calls. That morning my husband checked in on him and informed me my FIL was feeling a little better. Less than an hour later, my husband received a call from one of his dad’s friends. Apparently, he was about to die and another friend was on the way to our house to take him to the hospital, which didn’t make sense to me because I work from home so why wouldn’t he ask me?

So I call my FIL to find out what the deal is and was pretty surprised by how terrible he sounded. What also surprised me was that he actually did not have a friend coming to take him to the hospital. He ended up asking me if I would take him but I suggested calling an ambulance which he agreed to.

A few minutes later I could hear sirens so I went outside to flag them down. Outside I could no longer hear the sirens but I could hear something else: “I guess they missed our house, hee hee.” I turned around and there stood my FIL, giggling. “What the fuck are you doing out here?!” I yelled. I’ve just told 911 that my FIL is on the outs and here he is practically dancing in his driveway.

I. Was. Mortified.

As soon as the paramedics got out of the ambulance I began telling them MY side of the story: he tricked me. They check him out and nothing. Nothing is wrong with him. Are you sure? I asked them. There’s nothing in that ambulance that you can shove down his throat?

No.

The paramedics loaded back into the ambulance and by the time I turned around to ask my FIL “what the fuck was that?!” he was already back inside. That was the last I heard from him for about a week. I didn’t check on him because I didn’t have to. Our neighbor kept me in the know. She also informed me that, according to my FIL, he in fact was dying that day and had the paramedics not given him oxygen for the 3 minutes that they did, it would’ve been over.

This story of almost seeing the light has made its rounds and every time I hear it he was nearer and nearer death. Not long after standing at the pearly gates, he recovered.

BTW, it isn’t lost on me that I once put my mom through a similar situation. When I was in 6th grade I experienced a level of embarrassment I’d never felt before after I tripped over a pipe in front of about 30 kids (out of a class of almost 500). 30 may as well have been everyone. I couldn’t take it. So I faked being sick for about a week and a half before my mom finally took me to the doctor where I was outed as a fraud and had to go back to school.

The moral of the story is I was terrible well into my 20s and my comparisons to my FIL are only up to 11-year-old me so I’ve got a lot more of this shit to go.

You’ve shown me nothing

The other day, a friend of mine was in town and stopped by for a visit. I was incredibly happy to see her given the fact that it had been a little over 5 months since our last get together. This time however, she had her 4-year-old with her. This was a problem for 2 reasons:

First, my house is not kid-friendly and, 2) neither am I. I don’t dislike all kids, you understand. Just the ones that are very self-absorbed. You know the type: always asking you for things and always wanting you to witness their latest “trick”.

This one was extra Mariah Carey that day. He started off by calling me Jem, very “I don’t know her” of him. But I actually liked that 80s cartoon so I didn’t correct him. It wouldn’t have mattered, though, because getting my name wrong wasn’t the problem. Saying it ad nauseam was.

“Jem. Jem. Jem. Hey Jem. Look Jem.” What could possibly be of that much importance, he’s only 4. It went like this for the next hour, each question and proclamation more nails on a chalkboard than the last.

He began by pointing out the Xbox controller on my coffee table. “Hey Jem, is that an Xbox controller? I like Xbox.” Me too, I replied. “Can I play your Xbox, Jem?” I’m sorry but no he could not. I’m currently playing Evil Within 2 and my score is logged online and I don’t need some overactive toddler making me appear to not know how to survive a zombie invasion.

Could I have switched out the games? Sure, but all of my games are zombie games and I don’t like to share and my husband just has Madden, which I know nothing about, and Grand Theft Auto, which I’m sure my friend wouldn’t have enjoyed watching her son murder a hooker because he doesn’t want to pay her. Even I know that.

The requests continued. “Hey Jem, let’s go look outside.” “Hey Jem, can I take the duck out of your pool?” “Hey Jem, what happens if I throw rocks in your pool?” “Hey Jem, is that your bedroom? I’m going to jump on your bed!” “Hey Jem, can I eat the pizza in your fridge?”

Oh. My. God. I genuinely can’t remember the conversation between my friend and I because he interrupted every 30 seconds like a goddamn egg timer. Not even cartoons kept him quiet. He was jumping on the couch, running around everywhere. One interruption after another.

Then he said, “hey Jem, check this out!” and did some weird leg shuffle. What did I just check out? The answer is nothing. You’ve shown me nothing and now I know why Simon Cowell is such a jerk on those talent shows.

It reminded me of the time my friend’s then 13-year-old was on an I-can-do-anything kick. One day she showed me a video of herself strumming a ukulele and proudly proclaimed “look, I can play the ukulele!” Can you play any songs, I asked. No. Do you know any chords? No. So I kindly explained to her that she, in fact, could not play the ukulele because strumming it was not playing it and she should stop telling people that she could. She has since quit (or never actually got started if we’re being technical) the ukulele.

I didn’t tell this 4-year-old that his little shuffle was garbage, I know you were wondering. Instead, I looked away so he would go do something else. And that, my friends, is how I know I’m maturing. I’m 37.

Dreams Do Come True: Part 2

If you or someone you know is currently trying to change their life by being more positive and letting the past go via Instagram posts or a 25-year-old life coach, this story is for you.

First, the backstory. It all started when a bunch of grown assholes ruined my childhood dream of meeting the Green Power Ranger (you can read about it here if you need to get caught up).

You see? Assholes. Anyway, I stopped being mad about it a few weeks ago and it’s because… I finally met the Green Power Ranger. I’d been waiting for this day since I was 8. Yes, since I was 8. For 29 years I’ve imagined what our meeting would be like. When I was 8, I thought he would ask me if I wanted to be an honorary Power Ranger (the brown one I’m guessing since I’m part Mexican and they were color-coordinated back then. Go ahead. Google it. See?)

As an adult, I thought he would still make me an honorary Power Ranger. Or at least feature me in his IG stories. Here’s what actually happened.

I arrived at 11am ready for my one-on-one time with him, ready to hear him laugh about my vendetta and tell me how cool I am. By the way, all of my daydreams include someone telling me how cool I am. Anyway, at noon, the time the event was supposed to start, he’d yet to arrive which was not cool. By this time, a crowd of people had gathered outside and I was starting to have flashbacks of McDonald’s. Immediately I thought, “oh my god, he’s outside doing kicks and I’m going to miss him again.”

Fortunately, we now have social media and based on his IG stories, he was stuck in traffic, driving while staring at himself in his phone. My competition was no longer tall people crowding around me. It was Instagram Live.

He did manage to avoid a fiery wreckage and make it to the event, where he walked in wearing a mask and a hat. Look, I’m not a poet. I can’t just look into someone’s eyes and know it’s them, not unless I can see their entire face. On top of that he was a little frantic, probably because he was over 45 minutes late to the event he watched himself drive to.

After he pulled himself and merchandise together, I got my shot. I introduced myself, told him about the McDonald’s event, reminded him about the email, and….. nothing. He had a meet and greet to do and as far as he was concerned, I needed to take a number and retell him that story when it was my turn. He headed towards the door and I stopped him: I was getting that picture. He obliged but was still wearing his hat and mask.

He may as well have been wearing his Power Rangers helmet. This was a mountain of bullshit that was about to get bigger. Because my friends were nice enough to give me free access to the event, I volunteered when Jason’s assistant asked for help with it.

In an ironic twist of fate, my job was to photograph Jason David Frank AKA Tommy the Green Power Ranger with other fans. This was nothing like the scenarios I’d made up in my head.

The only thing weirder than how this was turning out was his fans. Oh my god. If you thought I was mental, you should’ve seen these people. A few of them showed up with the Power Ranger sword for him to sign, which made me think of Step Brothers – you’re not going to not get Randy Jackson’s autograph.

One lady showed up with what looked like a normal reusable grocery bag but what turned out to be a clown car of memorabilia. It was like that scarf trick where they never quit coming out of the pocket. 2 people came in dressed up as the White Power Ranger.

One guy showed up, had Jason sign all the crap he brought, walked out, came back in, asked Jason for his mask, walked out, came back in, asked me to ask Jason to sign the mask, walked out, came back in and handed me a brown bag that he claimed to contain Jason’s favorite candy and asked me to give it to him which I did not because I’m not trying to go to jail for spreading Covid or anthrax.

A super fan came in and asked Jason why Zordon couldn’t help the Green Power Ranger to which Jason replied, “it was in the script, man.” Touché. All of these people by the way, were well into their 30s like me except my infatuation was inspired by revenge, not insanity. The most normal people were the fans in their 20s.

In total there were maybe 7 kids that attended the event, none of which missed their opportunity to meet him. Yet another struggle they will never understand.

At about 4 the event finally wrapped up. I was over it. Up until that point I’d gotten my picture and you couldn’t even tell it was him.

BUT…

After the event ended, he took his mask off, and finally, FINALLY, I got my picture.

So there you have it. A true story about dreams coming true thanks to staying angry. So don’t give up on your negativity just yet. The possibilities are endless as to where your anger will take you, like to a warehouse to meet a child star from the 90s and his weird fans. #winning

Watch This, Not That: Documentaries

I kind of remember when reality TV was invented. For me, it was invented when Season 8 of MTVs The Real World debuted. Th at’s when I started watching it and I remember thinking it was the exact opposite of the real world. It’s been all downhill from there. A few years ago I had a gig writing comedic recaps on reality shows such as Vanderpump Rules and The Real Housewives of Dallas. That was it for me and have since given up on reality TV (except for My 600lb Life). It’s all documentaries for me and readers, have I got some watch this and not that’s for you.

My first recommendation is YouTube’s The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story. In the 90s, most teenage girls were either Team Backstreet Boys or Team N’sync, and if you were Team 98 Degrees you were no friend of mine. Anyway, did you know Lou Pearlman is the reason you had to pick a side? Did you also know that he was a complete fraud who scammed several elderly people out of their life savings with the help of U.S. Representative Charlie Crist? Well, it’s true. Brought to us by Lance Bass’s production company, The Boy Band Con is such a good telling of the boy band craze, the man behind it, and how he deceived so many while simultaneously making music history.

Speaking of the 90s, my next suggestion is all about nostalgia. Before there was Netflix and Chill, there was Be Kind, Rewind. In those days, when you wanted to watch a movie at home you had to physically leave your house and drive (or ride with your parents) to the local video store. For most of us, that video store was Blockbuster. Aahh, Blockbuster. The smell of the weekend. My next watch this is Netflix’s The Last Blockbuster.

I loved this documentary. It tells the story of how Blockbuster came to be, why it was the greatest, what happened to it, and how the very last one is hanging in there. For anyone who wants to reminisce or would like to know more about their botched Netflix deal, I highly suggest The Last Blockbuster.

Here’s something you don’t need to know about: Paris Hilton. Since I’d scored big with that boy band documentary, I let YouTube’s autoplay guide me and next up was This Is Paris, a documentary on Paris. Good god. Sure, her voice finally caught up with her age, but that’s about the only thing that’s tolerable. Other than that the entire documentary is pretty insufferable.

If you watch it, be prepared to weep when you see her museum of MacBooks, explaining that she needs to buy a new one after every breakup. Feel your heart break when you discover she NEVER wears then same outfit twice. At one point she talks about the abuse she endured at bad kids camp that still haunts her to this day (Side note: she recently testified in court against this camp). It’s a serious situation although Nikki Hilton brings us back by asking Paris “do you remember how horrible you were to our parents?” Look, I grew up with a Mexican grandmother so it’s real hard for me to feel bad for Paris. Anyway, unless you’re interested in learning how Paris stayed rich after growing up rich, I do not recommend This Is Paris.

And while we’re on the subject of spoiled rich kids, I also don’t recommend Netflix’s Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal. We all know the story: Aunt Becky used that Full House money to get her bratty, underserving child into USC. And she wasn’t the only one. A bunch of rich parents did it, all with the help of a guy named Rick Singer. The majority of it is shot in reenactments which I get because most of the people this scandal involves are in jail.

The documentary is meant to show how fucked up the system is but here’s the deal: it’s nothing new and it’ll probably never change. And the worse part is there will always be kids that want to go to these shit colleges that allow this.

FUN FACT: I went to school with a girl who wanted to go to the University of Texas at Austin but didn’t get in. Instead of just going to another University of Texas she lied to everyone, telling people she got in and would actually walk around the campus pretending to be a student. She eventually got caught. This happened 20 years ago so this story also serves as a reminder that people don’t forget.

Anyway, my point is, I would rather watch a documentary about that girl than one about something that isn’t that surprising other than Aunt Becky learned dick all from the life lessons on Full House. I do not recommend Operation Varsity Blues.

Dreams do come true

Like everyone on the planet in the early 90s, 8-year-old me and my 5-year-old cousin were super fans of the Power Rangers. Both of us were Kimberly the Pink Power Ranger because she could do backflips but also because she was Tommy the Green Power Ranger’s girlfriend and we loved him.

My aunt also loved him, so when we saw an ad that he would be at our local McDonald’s she was more than happy to take us. Per the ad, the event would be capped at 250 people so my aunt made sure to get us there early. We arrived about 3 hours prior to the event only to find that the line was already shit tons of people long. Fortunately, “shit tons” to an 8-year-old is only about 150 people so we made it into the group. 

But then…

My hometown has grown over the last 30 years but back then it was considered small, so Tommy the Green Power Ranger was the biggest celebrity next to Selena to make an appearance. We were prepared for that. The rest of the town was not, made evident by the fact that a shit, shit ton more people showed up after we did.

As the manager of McDonald’s was preparing to let us responsible people in, the crowd of late-asses bum-rushed the door. So, in an attempt to appease everyone (except for the kids this entire event was for) the manager had Tommy do his Power Ranger tricks outside while every jerk over 5’0” stood in front of us. 

My cousin and I couldn’t see shit except for his mask and a leg whenever he’d throw a kick. We. Were. Pissed.

I was so pissed that for a minute I wanted to be a judge – my plan was to remember their faces and send them to jail should they ever end up in my court (the plan went to hell when I failed to memorize anybody’s face so then I quit caring about sending people up the river). 

I didn’t become a judge but 20 years after this I became an MMA promoter. You know who else was involved in MMA? Jason David Frank, AKA Tommy the Green Power Ranger. In addition to fighting, he also owned a clothing line called “Jesus Didn’t Tap”.

Well neither did I, so I tracked him down and emailed him my entire story like I was completely mental.

And you know what? HE RESPONDED.

His vendor fee wasn’t too expensive but because our company was in its growing stage, we really didn’t have the extra money to pay it. 

I don’t remember what the rest of his email said because when I read that it wasn’t him at McDonald’s, all that mattered was that not only did I not get to see him but nobody else really did. 

However, that feeling lasted for about 22 seconds.

I still wanted my revenge so I set a goal of meeting him at some point in my life. 

And ladies and gentlemen, a full 29ish years after this whole thing started, it’s happening.

Jason David Frank, AKA Tommy the Green Power Ranger (who later became the White Power Ranger) will be at my friend-owned business, MMA Overload, tomorrow. I will be there to meet him and I will document the entire thing. 

In Typical Jenn fashion, my hometown no longer has a newspaper so there’s nowhere for me to send a press release detailing my accomplishments. I’ll just have to settle for social media posts. That’s fine. 

Anyway, the moral of the story is this: Dreams really do come true. 

So never give up, my friends. Never give up on your grudges.

See you tomorrow.

Review: The Meaning of Mariah | Mariah Carey

Years ago, I had a dream of being a famous singer. Back then you had to really work for it. There was no TikTok or YouTube to propel a talentless individual into the spotlight. No. Back then, you had to find a way to get in front of record executives. I tried cold-calling them using my sales tactics that I learned from my telemarketing job but it didn’t pan out. Then, a miracle in the form of a talent show appeared: American Idol was auditioning for season 2.

The day before the audition I decided I should probably rehearse. I chose a Mariah Carey song and practiced for about 10 minutes in our dining room. I thought I sounded great. My then 7-year-old sister wanted to know why I was screaming. Either way, it didn’t matter. When we got to the venue they’d already reached their cut-off so I couldn’t audition, which was probably for the best since I was prepared to walk in there and SING A MARIAH CAREY SONG. I still live with that blind optimism and confidence, by the way. But just like no one can sing Mariah Carey like Mariah Carey, I don’t do confidence the way she does.

I just finished reading Mariah Carey’s book, The Meaning of Mariah, and I never knew how amazing she actually was until she told me. I had zero intentions of reading this book, but during her appearance on Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper’s New Year’s Eve special she kept talking about her book and how she wrote it and her book was her answer to every question she got asked so I felt like I had no choice but to read it.

It’s actually not bad but is also exactly what I expected: the story of her life mixed with praise for herself. If you’ve ever seen the movie Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, you’ll recall a scene where, playing herself, she says “I’m probably the most humble person I know.” That’s the entire tone of the book.

HOWEVER, it’s also incredibly inspirational, believe it or not. I was completely unaware of her hardships. The hardest time I thought she endured was the period of her life that was that shit Glitter (she even talks about the infamous TRL publicity stunt that went terrible and made her look batshit crazy, at least she did to me). She had a pretty rough upbringing, growing up around addiction, rage, and poverty. Her drive to make it out and achieve her dreams of becoming the superstar diva she is today is pretty motivational. And now I get why she celebrates anniversaries instead of birthdays and sometimes acts like a kid with a credit card.

She also goes into full detail about her time with Tommy Mottola. I remember when she was married to him and I also remember thinking she became a star because she married him. I was also like 13 when that went down so what did I know? The answer is nothing because the reason she married him and the shit she endured while she was with him is nowhere near as light-hearted as being a gold digger.

She has a great story and while it’s not without her mentioning her thousands of accolades she’s collected over the years – and I mean like every single story has some sort of praise for her, by her – it somehow doesn’t take away from the point of it: never give up. That’s the point of a lot of memoirs I suppose, but this one’s pretty legit. Of course it is, it’s Mariah Carey.

The Meaning of Mariah is a pretty good read, just ask Mariah Carey. She’ll tell you all about it.

Photo by: Rolling Stone because I was too lazy to take a picture

Watch This, Not That: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel vs. Demonic

According to Google, the definition of ‘horror’ is “an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust” which simultaneously explains, and somehow does not explain, why there are so many shitty movies lumped into this genre on Netflix. It’s tough to find good horror these days, at least something that’s not brought to us by the news anyway. It just so happens I do not watch the news. It also just so happens that the news watches me because this week’s Watch This is a documentary on a story that made national headlines.

This past week, Netflix released a 4-part documentary called Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel which detailed the disappearance of a young tourist named Elisa Lam. I’d actually heard of this case before, not from the news (thank God) but from my favorite YouTube channel, Top5s. About 6 years ago, one of their videos featured the footage of Elisa Lam in an elevator that shocked the interwebs. When I first saw it, it creeped me out. You see, Elisa Lam was a woman who traveled from Canada to L.A., found herself staying at the infamous Cecil Hotel which is where she was last seen. After she was reported missing, video surveillance captured Elisa in one of the elevators looking paranoid and frightened. That was the last anyone saw her until she was discovered more than 2 weeks later in one of the hotel’s water tanks.

Prior to the discovery of what actually happened to her (she climbed in herself which was most likely brought on by her mental illness), the story itself was something out of a true horror film. In fact, some people compared it to the 2005 film Dark Water. Those people would be conspiracy theorists who decided it was their job to find out (i.e. make up) what happened to Elisa Lam. They would also be the same people who helped pin it on someone who’d never even met Elisa Lam, causing that individual to basically give up a part of his life because of the harassment, helping this documentary land in the ‘horror’ genre thanks to that one tidbit of this story being absolutely disgusting. In fact, the scariest part of this documentary is the incredible amount of people who could afford to spend countless hours investigating Elisa Lam’s case, making it difficult at times for actual investigators to do actual investigating.

Then there’s the former GM of the hotel who gives off serious American Horror Story: Hotel vibes – she plays a great villain. The entire documentary is weird and while it’s definitely a shocker of a story, it’s more tragic than anything. The Cecil Hotel is worth Googling as it’s actually pretty disturbing. However, the only reason you should watch the documentary is to understand what mental illness can do to a person as well as understand how much of a tool you’ll look like if you spread conspiracy theories – particularly ones you made up – about a subject matter that effects millions of people.

Coincidentally, this week’s “don’t watch” is a movie based on demonic possession which some are more than ok with classifying as mental illness. Demonic is about a bunch of amateur ghost hunters (what else?) attempt to become professional ghost hunters by venturing into a house where a mass murder took place with a goal of raising the dead. As you may have figured out, the majority of them die because one of them gets possessed but actually he’s dead and it’s his girlfriend who is possessed but not for real her, her baby is possessed.

Other than that stellar description I just provided, here’s why you shouldn’t watch it: as with most terrible horror films, we’re never told or given any sort of inclination as to what and/or who is possessing people. It could be the devil. It could be something pretending to be the devil. It could be a picture frame. Who knows? Not the screenplay writer, that’s for sure. I give it one star and that’s only because Dustin Milligan, AKA Ted from Schitt’s Creek, is in it.

The state of my mind on Mardi Gras during a snow storm

Texans are not equipped for the current conditions we are facing. Snow is nothing more than a faint dream to us. We don’t dream of a white Christmas, we dream of a not-hot one. So when this snow storm hit, we were ill-prepared at best. It’s the Hunger Games at our local grocery stores. People aren’t driving so much as they are gliding to their destinations. Electricity is out in several parts of the city and throughout the state and our water is frozen. FROZEN.

Obviously, only essential businesses are open, like Target because people need to buy pool floats so they can play in the snow. It’s snowmageddon here in Texas and even though I work from home and my electricity is working so my daily schedule really isn’t that affected, I still can’t think clearly. There are too many distractions such as a story I read about another gender reveal party gone bad where 2 idiots used a cannon to find out what they were having.

Call me boring but what happened to the days of just asking the doctor what you’re having and then putting it on an invitation and asking for presents? Every gender reveal is one one-upping contest after another and quite frankly it’s annoying. Kids these days already think they’re special for absolutely no reason at all. Wait until they hear that their parents burnt down an entire city just to announce they’re having a boy. That’s not someone I’d want as a boss.

Anyway, I’m over gender reveal parties and the people trying to go viral with theirs. So, I invented something that will allow people to find out the sex of their child AND celebrate Mardi Gras. You can thank my cabin fever for this.

I give you:

THE KING (SOLOMON) CAKE

The King Solomon Cake is like any king cake. Except this is the gender reveal version so whoever gets the baby is King Solomon and they have to cut the baby in half to reveal the gender. No one gets hurt. Nothing burns to the ground. Everyone loves cake! Patent pending.