For Real Ghost Adventures: Presidio La Bahia

Hello, and welcome to another episode of For Real Ghost Adventures. We didn’t use to call our ghost hunting trips this but after the last one at the Magnolia Hotel where we ACTUALLY caught real ghost footage as opposed to the guys on Ghost Adventures who I sent my footage and they ignored it, I decided this name was perfect.

A few weeks ago, we took a trip to a place called Presidio La Bahia. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s OK because I hadn’t either (I’ve never been one for the history lessons and whatnot). Located in Goliad, TX, Presidio La Bahia is “the most fought over fort in Texas history, having seen participation in six National Revolutions/Wars for independence. Spanish, Mexican and Texas soldiers all garrisoned its fortified walls. Here, at the Crossroads of Revolution, was felt almost every attempt to forcibly change the governmental order of Texas”, according to the website.

Photo Apr 15, 7 11 28 PM

I tried to write my own description but I found too much information and it began to feel like a term paper. Like I said, I’m not one for the history lessons. If you’d like to learn more about it, here’s the Wikipedia page. Anyway, the fort is closed off and when you rent the room for the night, you get the entire fort to yourself, with no one on the grounds but the bodies that are buried there. It’s actually pretty legit and also, Zack and his boys have never been there. 

During the day, the majority of the rooms around the fort are open. Part of it has been converted into a museum where you can watch a film that is a reenactment performed by “actors” from Craigslist, presumably. There are also tons of artifacts as well as a room full of bunk beds where the soldiers stayed. 

Right outside the sleeping quarters is a church that is still in operation and next to it, the grave of a woman named Anne Taylor. The fort is walled off which makes it perfect for exploring any time of the day. If you’re into history, particularly Texas history, or just dig seeing places like this, I highly recommend checking this place out.

Me? I’m into ghosts. Let’s get this shit started.

When we drove up I immediately thought it was the coolest building. The fact that the chapel was built in the 1700s creeped me out because anything still in existence from the 1700s is automatically scary, Jesus-y or not. Newer more modern churches are all about money and private jets, like Joel Osteen’s. Older churches are the real deal.  

Photo Apr 15, 7 38 01 PM

We unloaded our things, went and grabbed dinner, then returned to get the ghost hunting started. The first thing we did was get out the ghost hunting equipment. Becky is slowly amassing the collection of ghost hunting equipment that the Ghost Adventures guys have and I have to say, it’s pretty awesome. 

She has everything from a Mel Reader (the thing that reads magnetic energy and makes noises when a ghost touches it) to a voice recorder to this app and device that detects cold spots. 

Joanne brought a nightlight that is motion censored, cat balls that she was hoping the ghosts would move, and the free version of a ghost hunting app that played 60-second Candy Crush ads every 3 minutes. I brought my phone and running shoes in case something chased me. Clearly, I’m still pretty green at this.

The first thing we did was sit in the living room and try to talk to whoever (or whatever) would talk back. Joanne’s app included a feature that acted as a spirit box where words from the ghosts would come through. At one point, we were getting pretty freaked out because the words coming through were in another language. But before I put my sneakers to work, Joanne looked at the app and noticed that she had it set to Italian. 

So, yeah, we didn’t get anything. 

It was dark but still pretty early so we decided to hit up the local cemetery that was about 200 meters from where we were. I drove to it in case we got chased by anything. I feel (kind of) the same way about cemeteries that I do about churches: the new ones weird me out while the old ones I find legit. This was just a regular cemetery – we didn’t really get any ghost activity so back to the fort we went. 

By this time it was about 9:30pm so we decided to hit up the courtyard, the same courtyard that at least 13 bodies are buried. Surely, we would pick something up. To the right of the entrance there are some Forrest Gump-like benches to sit down on and talk to ghosts, which is what we did. Becky could see foot prints on her thermal app. My Mel Reader went off at one point, but that was about it. 

Presidio La Bahia | For Real Ghost Adventures

I don’t know if you’re aware of the weather we’ve got going on here in central Texas but it’s humid AF right now. So, after a while of no activity we decided to go back inside, freshen up, and regroup. 

After my shower, I went outside to join Joanne and Becky who were sitting on the step in front of the doors of the church. As soon as I stepped outside the first thing they said was “there’s someone singing in there.” I walked up to the door to listen and sure enough, I could hear a woman’s voice. 

After a few minutes it turned to men singing hymns. It was creepy. Then it kind of sounded like choir practice. And then it wouldn’t stop.

It was way too Ghost Adventures to be true.

I later found out that the woman who manages the church forgot to turn the Church tape off, so the singing we were hearing was a recording. 

We then went back inside to talk to ghosts, but because there weren’t any we got nothing. At about 12:30am, we did one more walk through of the courtyard and then it was time for bed, which was very restful until 8am when the recording of the bells began and rang every 15 minutes until we left.

For Real Ghost Adventures | Presidio La Bahia

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the place wasn’t haunted. First, there’s a church on the grounds. A legit 1700s church. The kind that didn’t need half your paycheck to bless you. This means the fort is on hollowed ground so, hopefully, everyone buried there is resting peacefully. 

Then, I read the guestbook.

That thing read like someone’s diary. “This morning was great! We watched the sunrise and then had lunch. #livingmybestlife

When we stayed at the Magnolia, every entry was one where people described feeling scared and uneasy the entire night. And everyone had a sighting or paranormal experience like us. Nobody wrote, “had breakfast in the kitchen where the murderer ate – best eggs ever!

There was one disturbance I experienced at the Presidio, though. 

The tourists. 

They tried opening our doors thinking that they could go in even though both of our doors were closed and the rest of the doors that you could go through were wide open. And then when our doors wouldn’t open they wouldn’t stop knocking. And then when I tried to leave there were people watching us like they were the paparazzi and a little girl said hi to me and god only knows what my face did because between the diary entries, lack of ghosts, and an abundance of tourists, I was pretty annoyed by this point.

All in all I have to say, the hotel stay was a super fun girls’ night but if you’re looking for ghosts, that place isn’t it. 

BUT WAIT.

20 minutes from the Presidio is a little town called Yorktown. And in the town is the Yorktown Hospital, one of the most haunted hospitals in the country. If it sounds familiar, that’s because the guys of Ghost Adventures paid a little visit to it in season 5. 

So stay tuned for the next episode of For Real Ghost Adventures where we pay a visit to the Yorktown Hospital and I only report on the for real things that happened.

Photo Apr 15, 10 05 25 PM

I took this pic because I thought it was so creepy that the lights were on and we couldn’t open the door. Then we realized it was the street lights on the other side. Yet another not ghost thing.

There’s something for everyone in the Abercrombie documentary on Netflix

I can’t explain why but I have been waiting for the Netflix documentary White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch since the release date was announced on Netflix’s Insta like a month ago.

Maybe it was to finally get the validation I’d been wanting since I was in high school, which was that yes, Abercrombie was for douches. Maybe it was to see if anyone still wore their jeans and shorts, like me (I love the way they fit, and also I was never their demographic so that makes me not a douch!). 

Whatever the reason, the documentary debuted and I could not wait. 

With a full schedule of shit to do for work, I turned on my iPad, clicked on Netflix, and took a trip back to the late 90s/early 2000s.  

Here’s a little about how Abercrombie worked for me back then. I’m from a border town. A border town with a mall that has a Ross, a Bealls, and a vast amount of places to eat. It’s basically a food court with a few clothing stores in it. When I was in high school if you wanted name-brand clothes you had to drive 3 hours to the nearest “big city” mall where you’d find all the places to shop such as Forever 21, Wet Seal (holla!), and an overly-cologned Abercrombie

At that time, the only thing I really knew about it was if you were rich and in the popular crowd, Abercrombie was practically a uniform. Obviously, I never shopped there as I was neither of those. 

When I watched the documentary, I wasn’t surprised at all by the claims that they only wanted “cool kids” to work there so that “cool people” would buy the clothes. Uh hello, remember the models on their bags and on the store signage?

Just a bunch of cool kids hanging out in a meadow throwing a football and joking around. Nothing like the “cool kids” in my school whose outings included skipping out and going to the clubs in Mexico. I don’t remember any of the graphic tees being designed with puke stains but I didn’t wear their clothes back then so what do I know?

Anyway, these marketing tactics worked. Abercrombie became the brand to wear and the place to work, and even though I wasn’t into the brand in high school, they fucking got me when I was 19.

It all started the way it usually does: with a boyfriend.

Just like the former CEO of Abercrombie, my then-boyfriend was shitty. And because he was my first serious boyfriend, his shittiness made me insecure. That led me to do things I would never do. Things that would make me feel cool like the girls he was cheating on me with.

Things like get a job at Abercrombie.

Yup. He worked at Abercrombie. One of the girls he liked worked at Abercrombie. So I thought, I’m good enough to work at Abercrombie. And I was.

My experience wasn’t like the ones in the documentary, however. People were fired or not hired at all based on their appearance. Or, people were hired and scheduled to work on the night crew – the crew that no one saw because they were deemed unattractive.

Because of their discriminatory practices, the company faced a massive class-action lawsuit by more than 250,000 former employees resulting in a $50 million dollar settlement. Beyond their affinity for hiring pretty white folks, their photographer was also a perv, and some of the male models that didn’t accept his advances were ultimately let go from their modeling gigs.

Mike Jeffries, the former CEO whose only dream was to be young, eventually stepped down from the company but not before receiving $25 million. You know, how most of these stories go. 

Today, the company is run by a new CEO and features a more diverse cast of models as well as plus-size clothing, something they’d refrained from in the past. 

In the documentary, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit remarked that her mother had, at one point, asked her why she wanted to work there.

She didn’t really answer the question but we all know the answer. 

To prove your cool status.

Or get a fat discount.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone is some version of an idiot in their late teens and well into their twenties. You have to be to think that getting a job at Abercrombie will show your loser boyfriend that you’re just as cool as the girls he cheats on you with (i.e. ME).

I’m happy to report that my time at Abercrombie lasted only a day. Retail sucks and the unreasonable amount of cologne in the air was nauseating and burned my retinas, so I never went back.

I’m even happier to report that while, yes, my then-boyfriend worked at Abercrombie, he worked on the night crew.

And he never got moved to the floor. 

I hope he saw the documentary.

🙂

Picture from: shape.com

At least the rabbit’s ok

I am allergic to everything. I’m allergic to nickel. I’m allergic to latex, which was a real blast when my last dental hygienist blamed “baby brain” as the reason for “accidentally” using latex gloves for the start of my cleaning, resulting in hives all around my mouth. I’m allergic to certain types of rubber including the ends of the dumbbells at my gym.

When I began breaking out thanks to my IUD (that’s a story for another time), my dermatologist and I created a real fun game called “Try It” where I would take a medication or apply an ointment and if I broke out in hives, then we would rule that out as a treatment option.

This, and this alone, is the reason I’m terrified to get my lips done. My fear is I’ll be allergic to whatever’s in lip filler and my lips will be swollen for at least 2 months. However, a friend of mine recently got hers done and the result was making me more confident in the idea that hey, maybe I’m not allergic to everything.

That all came to a screeching halt yesterday.

Yesterday morning, I walked into the gym like I do every morning, only this time I was greeted by my coach’s eye before the rest of her. It was like she was morphing into a character from my Resident Evil games.

“Oh my god, who did that to you?!” was my first question. Accusatory, yes. But eyes like that don’t just happen. Unless you’re me and you discover the hard way that you’re allergic to certain lash growth serums.

She responded: “my esthetician”.

The day prior, my coach had a facial and during it, was asked if she would be willing to have a procedure performed on her that was designed to help collagen production resulting in fewer wrinkles. Wrinkles that she doesn’t even have.

She agreed because who doesn’t want better eyes for free?

Her esthetician began the procedure which include some sort of needle gun, a topical cream for numbing, and some sort of serum. The type of supplies you see a “doctor” using in a B horror film.

The end result was one kind of swollen eye and one that was nearly swollen shut, like the kids from The Hills Have Eyes.

THAT is my nightmare realized. I am as vain as they come but not vain enough to risk deformity. That’s where I draw the line.

“Can’t you ice it?” a friend who had joined the conversation asked. “No, she told me not to.”

“You mean the woman who did this to you? I would get a second opinion if I were you” our friend advised.

I felt terrible for her, especially because she still had to coach like that (swollen and in pain). She started class and during our warm up explained to everyone what happened.

“Basically,” she said, “I was her guinea pig. I let her test out her new tool on me and this is what happened.”

Everyone listened intently, with sympathy in their eyes and heart.

Then, from the side of the gym, came the voice of one of the new guys.

“Well, at least the rabbit’s OK.”

The smartest part of your body

This is going to sound crazy but just like Jon Edward or Tyler Henry, I too am not psychic. Never have been just like they haven’t. While we may all be solidified non-psychics, there is something that they do that I don’t, aside from not predicting anyone’s future or speaking to random people’s loved ones. None of us can do that. 

They are very good at acting on their gut instinct, which is how they’ve become famous for being phenomenal at cold reading which they call “being psychic” but as I’ve already explained…

I’m terrible at going with my gut, like the time I had a feeling I should move my mother-in-law’s ashes from our mantel, and the next day our gigantic clock fell off the wall (thanks to the lack of anchoring from my husband) and my mother-in-law’s ashes went flying into the dog food. I had to scoop her ashes out from the dog food and put her in a ziplock bag until I could get another urn/canister to put her in.

So, yeah, I could never be a cold reader, er, psychic.

My best friend Ileen, however, could. She can read people like a book, like when she met her ex-sister-in-law’s parents for the first time and immediately thought they were fraudsters, and a few years later they were raided by the FBI for their business practices.

She has some good inclinations about people, so when she interviewed for a job last summer I wasn’t shocked when she explained why she turned down the offer.

“I get a bad vibe from that lady,” she said. “And she sounded like she didn’t even want to work there. I’m not doing it.” 

She’s since gotten a job – one where she gets to play on the Internet all day, which means she’s always up-to-date on her local news. 

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Dude!” That’s the first thing I heard when I answered her call the other day.

“You’re not going to believe this.”

Apparently, the woman Ileen interviewed with was getting ready to go to prison. It turns out that Ileen’s gut was literally and figuratively protecting her and itself.

The woman had been poisoning her staff with colon cleanser, making all of them sick and at least two of them seriously ill. When questioned, she told cops that it was “just a prank”. 

Who knew you could use “just a prank” as a defense for attempted murder? I watch a lot of true crime and I’ve never heard that one. Although, if Netflix sees this the “prank defense” might be about to global. 

Can you imagine being poisoned by your boss? Laying on the floor, writhing in pain while they nudge you and say “get up, I was just playing”. I’ve quit jobs for far way less than that so that was pretty ballsy of her.

So anyway, the next time your gut is talking to you, listen to it. If it’s gurgling, you’re too late. Live (hopefully), learn, and listen next time. 

Vivarium and The Room: weird houses and jerk kids.

I’ve known I wasn’t meant to have kids since I was 13 and a friend of mine gave me her Tamagotchi – one of those electronic aliens on a keychain. I’d never expressed interest in it nor did I even know what its appeal was, but I accepted it thinking she was just being nice. Immediately I realized why she gave it to me. She hated me.

I couldn’t get it to shut up and I didn’t know how to turn it off. The first night I had it my mom stormed into my bedroom in a full-on rage, pissed because the bloody thing kept beeping and I couldn’t hear it even though it was right next to my head. After a couple of days it finally died – not the batteries, the actual digital alien or baby or whatever the hell it was.

These days I’m particular about what items I accept, and that includes children. Don’t even ask me if I want to hold your baby. Thanks to that Tamagotchi, the answer is I do not. I’m not falling for that one. Not like the dumb-dumbs in Vivarium did.

Vivarium (streaming on Amazon Prime) starts off with a couple in search of a home, finding themselves in a neighborhood that looks like it’s straight out of the Monopoly game. Even though every single house is identical, they keep their appointment with their weird AF realtor, doing a walk-through of what might be their new home. They’re like “mmm, I don’t know” and then try to drive out of the creepy neighborhood but as you may have guessed, they cannot.

So, they end up staying in their creepy dollhouse and while they may not be able to find their way out, Amazon can as they receive daily packages – one of them being a FUCKING. BABY. Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) is like “um no” and Gemma (Imogen Poots) is like “we have to it’s ours”. And thus begins an hour and a half of screaming, tantrums, fighting, and trying to escape but ultimately realizing there’s only one way out.

If you’re on the fence about having kids or would like to know what my 48 hours with a Tamagotchi was like, watch Vivarium. Warning: it’s weird as fuck.

2019 must’ve been the year for movies about weird houses and jerk kids because at the same time Vivarium came out, so did The Room (streaming on Shudder), except in The Room, the featured couple conjures up a devil child as opposed to just being left with one. I’ll explain.

Kate (Olga Kurylenko) and Matt (Kevin Janssens) have just moved into a home that’s special because a murder was committed in it. As a consolation prize, the room where the murder was committed grants wishes – a peace offering if you will. They both quit their jobs and decide to live off The Room, wishing for all sorts of bullshit. However, the one thing they both really want is a child so naturally, they wish one into existence.

How could this go wrong?

Well, for starters, they didn’t read the instruction manual on the room because if they had, they would have known that all of their wishes cannot be taken outside of the home or they’ll turn to dust. So it’s like the people on Instagram who pay to take staged photos in private jets but they don’t actually fly in private jets – like that.

The rules apply to the child as well, a fact they discover after Kate takes the kid outside and he turns into an 8-year-old or some age like that. Then he really turns into an asshole. He’s pissed because Kate won’t let him go outside and Matt doesn’t like him so he lashes out. But things really take a turn when he turns himself into an adult, and then we have a whole Oedipus situation going on.

It’s either the parents or this manifested little jerk – who will win? You have to watch The Room(streaming on Shudder) to find out. Or, if you don’t want to invest your time in it (and I kind of wouldn’t blame you), let me know and I’ll just tell you.

**My series and movie reviews will now be moving over to jennavision.blog. Enjoy!

Vanilla Ice Saves a Blogger

Once, on a flight to Vegas, I sat between a large man who took up part of my seat and needed a seatbelt extension and a woman who had her face in the vomit bag before the plane even took off. Meanwhile, my husband sat between two hot blondes. Another time, on a flight to Colorado, the man sitting next to me farted the entire way there. Only it didn’t hit me in the face until we landed and he stood up. Till then it had been muffled, building up for its grand entrance to my face.

Then there was the time we were heading home from Jamaica when our driver got into an accident with a motorcyclist on our way to the airport. 

All of those traveling instances were 87% less annoying than traveling in today’s climate. It’s not so much the rules and regulations that are a pisser (I will say, though, that for all the publicity masks get, they don’t protect against farts. You need actual Covid for that, which I find ironic). It’s the aftermath that’s made traveling less-than-ideal.

Recently I paid a visit to California after a 7-year absence. The political reason I was there was to support my husband at an event. The actual reason I was there was to finally get to see SUR: the setting of Vanderpump Rules – a show I used to write about and now really can’t stand but I’ve been planning a trip to SUR for years and wasn’t ready to give it up.

In years prior, I’d always flown into Ontario or Burbank. But since I wasn’t sure when I’d be heading back to California, I decided to arrive as a real-life tourist. So I opted to fly into LAX. 

On a Saturday.

Arriving at 4:30 p.m.

Following my anti-climactic arrival, it was time to start the driving portion of the trip. It had been a minute since I’d driven a car that wasn’t mine and also, I’d never driven by myself in LA before. I picked up my rental and off I went, all Britney Spears Brave New Girl style.

For a while, I was really feeling the LA vibe which was nice considering I’d been in need of a confidence boost. Driving down the 101 was helping. At one point, a guy who was easy on the eyes was signaling at me which made me giggle like I did when I was in high school and Kenny the hot senior patted me on the head (which I took as flirting because of course I did).

Anyway, I needed some better music to go with my mood but changing the station was a pain in the ass because it was dark and I couldn’t make out the dials. 

And then it hit me.

Why the guy signaled at me and why a handful of cars had been flashing their lights at me.

I’d been driving with my lights off and the people flagging me down were trying to keep me from killing them. In my defense, I am an incredibly spoiled American and have a car that has auto-lgihts. So I forgot that sometimes they need to be turned on manually. I am also a dumb American. I miraculously made it to the event, which went better than my drive to it. I got to meet Danny Trejo so that was cool.

image0                                                                        Danny Trejo is cool

But then the next day…

In planning my excursion to SUR I thought I had everything covered. I knew what I was going to say if I ran into Lisa Vanderpump, how I would get on camera, how Stassi would be there and we’d become best friends. I was prepared.

What I hadn’t prepared for was nearly the entire city of West Hollywood being closed on Mondays – the day of the week I happened to be there. 

In an attempt to cheer me up, my husband and our friends (a couple that accompanied us) took me to the Santa Monica Pier, the only thing that appeared to be open that day. It didn’t help. Fortunately, we didn’t stay long because the fog rolled in and we had to outrun it. 

I couldn’t believe I’d come all this way just to be in a straight-to-DVD sequel of The Fog. So, I decided, fuck it, we’re going to SUR. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to just pass by it or break into it and snap a pic, but I came to California to see that stupid restaurant and I wasn’t leaving until I did. 

So off we went, being chased out of Santa Monica by the rolling smog of death.

20 minutes later there it was, looking nothing like I thought it would. 

I needed to get closer so we parked… illegally because at this point what did it matter? What did anything matter?

There I stood, peering into the window where I watched 2 workers move furniture around. 

I tried to wave them down.

They ignored me. 

Typical LA.

Anyway, I got my pictures of SUR with absolutely nobody from the show in them so who cares.

image3                                                                                       A pic of the closed entryway, blocking off my dreams

image1                                                                               “How do I get inside SUR?”, I wondered to myself

image2                                                                              “Lisa’s in there, I know she’s in there.”, I said aloud

I’m not the only one who missed out on some good Instagram footage. It turns out, my friend Hannah had her own Typical Jenn vacation only 95 times cooler than mine, which is very typical for me.

Last month, Hannah, her husband, Kirk, and his parents headed to Steamboat for some skiing and to take in some shows from a few of their favorite Americana bands. In addition to Covid, their flights were of some concern as they were traveling during the 2 weeks when all of those flights were getting canceled.

They made it to Denver fine, and then stayed there the rest of the day as their final flight to Hayden was canceled. The next day, they barely made the last flight to Hayden for the weekend. Unfortunately, their luggage did not.

After purchasing a wardrobe for the weekend, they discovered that skiing was going to be a bit of a challenge as the venue was completely packed. Everywhere they went, a crowd seemed to follow made evident by the fact that when they went to the concert venue they were unable to get into the majority of the concerts they wanted to see due to the place being at max capacity.

Right when she decided that she’d fucking had it, a superhero came in and saved the day.

A superhero who, by day, goes by Rob Van Winkle. At night and in times of need, he goes by Vanilla Ice. For reasons we’ll never know, Ice took the stage and performed his mega-hit Ice Ice Baby, and he wasn’t alone.

Performing alongside him, dancing to a beat of her own, was Hannah’s mother-in-law. While her MIL had the time of her life, Hannah and Kirk stood there and watched, emotionless, waiting for it to end.

It didn’t.

Her performance got her, Hannah, and Kirk backstage passes to hang with Vanilla Ice. Hannah’s MIL happily accepted and spent the remainder of their time there taking shots with Mr. Van Winkle and having the time of her life. 

And they were unable to document any of it. Ice’s security guard wouldn’t let them take pictures or video. They also wouldn’t let Hannah’s MIL keep any memories. After one too many shots, Kirk literally carried her over his shoulders to their Airbnb and, when briefed on her night with Vanilla Ice, she couldn’t remember a thing.

With no luggage, no souvenirs from any concerts, and no account of the conversation that Hannah’s MIL and Vanilla Ice had thanks to her alcohol lobotomy, they headed home, concluding one of the best shitty vacation stories I’ve ever heard. Way better than my I-didn’t-get-to-go-to-a-restaurant story. 

Tune in next week when I complain about my Apple watch not holding a charge. 

Freelancing for Dummies: Shiiting Your Shot

Did I ever tell you about the time I played varsity basketball and softball? That’s because it didn’t happen, at least not in reality. In my head, I was both so that’s I told people I’d be. Unfortunately, my athleticism didn’t get the memo because I was cut from both sports before tryouts were even over. It was for good reason. I was terrible and the lack of trying to get better didn’t help.

Yet, I put myself out there and showed up. My problem wasn’t a lack of confidence or belief in myself, which could easily have been mistaken for zero self-awareness. No. My problem was that the only reason I tried to get on either team was to gain notoriety. Get my name out there was my goal. What I failed to understand – and am evidently still learning – is my interest only went as far as “maybe this is how people will hear about me!”

I was never really interested in playing these sports, I was interested in the attention I could get by playing them (in my hometown, sports was pretty much all we had). By the way, I didn’t end up on any of my high school teams but I did end up with the nickname Varsity courtesy of a guy named Jaime who thought my false claims of high school sports superstardom were hilarious. This is why I cringe when people claim themselves to be “funny”. I’ll be the judge of that, Varsity.

Anyway, as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that finding your people and doing what you love it where it’s at in life. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to find that. When it comes to my writing, I’ve set some pretty ambitious goals for myself but what sometimes hinders my progress is my patience – I have none. So, from time to time I’ll apply for something or put my writing somewhere it doesn’t belong or put something out there just to put it out there – all to get noticed as quick as possible and possibly get a book deal or a job writing jokes for scripts.

It always works out in my head. In reality, it mostly backfires, like it did this past weekend.

If you’ll recall, a goal of mine has been to write for the Alamo Drafthouse – a goal that seemed more attainable before fucking Covid. When the one where I live closed down permanently, I knew that goal would be a little harder to achieve. But I didn’t quit. I created Watch This, Not That so I could have an outlet to talk movies (which I absolutely love). I worked on my resumé and cover letter. Then, I managed to find the contact info for the Senior Content Editor and, after cyber-stalking him for a couple of months to try and get his vibe, finally sent him my Drafthouse Content Writing submission.

And you know what?

He replied!

He said it’s probably going to be another year before a content writing position will be available and also THERE WAS A TYPO ON THE RESUMÉ.

A typo. On my content writing resume. The one I spent MONTHS working on.

Fuck me, man.

When I was 13 and wanted to be a famous singer, my 9-year-old cousin and I spent an afternoon cold-calling record labels to get information on how to break into the biz. One of those labels was Jive Records and the receptionist, Greg, yelled that I needed to buy a book on how to break into the industry. Before I could ask him where to find such a book (I didn’t have my normal consultant, Google, at the time), he hung up on me.

Even though the response from the SCE of the Drafthouse wasn’t anywhere near as harsh as Greg’s – the dream killing receptionist – this incident reminded me of that one. HOWEVER, it was another 7 years before I officially gave up on my singing career. I called it a day after I bombed my audition for Bobby Bones’s version of American Idol (I think it was called Austin Idol but I didn’t make the first cut so who cares).

The point is, I have no intention of giving up, at least not yet. In a year or whenever that job comes back, I’ll apply for it. And I’ll continue to work towards my goal, and maybe I’ll write for the Drafthouse or maybe my work will lead to something else. Either way, I’m just going to keep going.

So, if you’re struggling or dealing with your own Greg – Jive Records doesn’t exist anymore so suck it, Greg! – the receptionist, just keep going. If you found what you love and it makes you happy, don’t let one mistake stop you from pursing it. Keep working (assuming it’s something within the confines of the law. I can’t help you past that nor do I want to be an accessory).

And if you need more inspiration, those Modelo commercials have a lot of it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a movie on Prime called Santa Jaws that I really think the Drafthouse or a recluse would like my take on.

Ghost Stories: Part 2

Ever since the incident at our grandma’s house, my cousin and I have been obsessed with ghosts and all things horror. Fun fact: for one of our regular horror movie nights we watched the B-rated movie Doctor Giggles and from that day forward, my cousin wanted to work in the medical field. She was 5. Today, she’s an emergency room trauma center nurse for a major hospital. The point is: no one would be lost if they watched horror movies.

The night we heard those footsteps would be just one of many occurrences for my cousin and I, both together and separately.

When I was 12, I saw my first apparition. I was with my parents and we were headed out of town to visit my great grandmother as she wasn’t doing very well. I was lying down in the back seat of my dad’s truck; I looked up from messing with my portable CD player to see my great grandmother sitting on the other side of the seat. I froze. It was only a silhouetted outline of her but it was her. I sat up and let my parents know what I had seen. Sure enough, when we arrived at our destination we were told she had passed away about an hour prior to our arrival.

Other times it would just be feelings. My mom and I used to spend Christmas Eve night at my godmother’s mom’s house and I was always terrified of her stairs. I would have to brace myself every time I walked passed them. It was like there was someone up there that wanted to make sure I had zero desire to go up those stairs – and I never did.

There are many more stories I have that are like that but the one I’m going to tell you today includes my cousin.

While in college, my cousin and I lived with her then-boyfriend (now-husband) in an older home. We didn’t know the history of it but in our early twenties, it’s not like we really cared. We had a house and it wasn’t a frat house; nothing else mattered.

The first time I discovered something was off about the house, I was in the process of switching bedrooms and needed to buy some new curtains to match the wall paint. I’d been watching Kathy Griffin comedy specials on my laptop and as I made my way out, I shut my laptop because I was too lazy to simply pause it. When I returned, I could hear something playing in my bedroom. At first I thought I was hearing things. As I slowly walked up the stairs I could hear that it was Kathy Griffin’s comedy. “What the fuck?” I thought. I ran up the remaining steps and right when I reached the top, it stopped. I walked into my room and there was my laptop: open and at the end of the special.

I told my friend Joe who lived in the house before I moved in and my story didn’t surprise him. He went on to tell me about a time when he had a friend over who also had a strange encounter. His friend had been upstairs using the bathroom when Joe heard his friend calling for him, asking if Joe needed something. Joe didn’t know what he was talking about. His friend came downstairs and told him that he heard someone running upstairs and then slam the bathroom door, but it happened so fast that he just thought it was Joe because he didn’t see who shut the door.

Joe’s first questions was, “why were you using the bathroom with the door open?” Then it was, “what the fuck shut the door?” They’d been the only 2 in the house at the time.

Not long after the laptop incident, my cousin’s boyfriend left for AirForce bootcamp, so for the next 6 weeks, she and I had the house to ourselves…. or so we thought.

One night we were watching TV in the living room when the light just turned off. We thought the lightbulb had gone out but when I went to hit the switch, it turned back on. It might not sound weird, but we used to have lights that were controlled by a remote so the only way the downstairs lights could’ve turned off was if someone turned the lights on upstairs (they were supposed to be energy savers). Not surprisingly, the lights upstairs were on but nobody else was home with us.

My cousin’s room used to scare me. Every time I walked in there I always felt like there was someone in there watching me. One night we had a slumber party in her room and while reminiscing, her bedroom door began to open. Not all the way, but enough to scare the shit out of both of us.

We never did find out who was in that house, and the occurrences never quit. Eventually I would move out, only to find myself in another an even more active home just a few years later.

Ghost Stories: Part 3 to be published next week.

Photo: Caltech.edu

Halloween, or just 2020?

I don’t know why people keep comparing 2020 to a Quintin Tarantino film. Tarantino films are good – even the fight scenes are delightful. Tarantino movies are entertaining, which is the polar opposite of 2020.

If director comparisons are what we’re after, then I would like to toss M. Night Shyamalan’s name in the hat. Think about it: this year has been nothing but terrible at every turn – just like his movies. You know I’m right.

Anyway, 2020: the year of shit. Luckily, we’re at the tale end of it which also happens to be my favorite time of year: Halloween season. For some of you it’s Everything Smells, Tastes, and Walks Like a Pumpkin season. For me, it’s horror movie-watching, scary story-telling, black like my soul Halloween season and to properly kick it off, I’m going to tell you a story that is perfectly on brand with 2020 in that it’s horrific and it’s also true.

The speed at which 2020 hits is different for everyone. For my sister, it was 72 hours and came in the form of a dead body.

A few months ago, my little sister took the leap into adulthood and moved 3 hours from my parents house into an apartment that we’ll label as affordable, which admittedly made me nervous for her. She was excited. My parents were excited. Both seemed to forget that the year is 2020.

I hadn’t, though. I gave her a little over a week to get settled before I called to check on her – the first words out of her mouth were “dude, you’re not going to believe this”. Just that morning, upon returning home from a job interview, my sister was greeted by paramedics wheeling out a body bag.

Word around the complex was it was the old man who lived RIGHT ABOVE HER. She hadn’t spoken to him but for the first few days in her new apartment, she used to see him all the time: he would hang out on the balcony staring at people. And if that weren’t creepy enough, the rumor was that he’d been in the apartment for a couple of days before he was discovered.

Happy to hear that she was doing well, I asked her to keep me posted on the rest of her 2020.

A couple of weeks went by without so much as a peep, which could mean anything these days, so I decided another call was in order.

This call went a lot better.

Me: “Hey sis! Just want to see how everything’s going!”

Sister: “Dude…”

A few days after our previous call, my sister arrived home to find that the old man had resurrected from the dead. There he stood on his balcony, staring off into the distance. At first she thought he was a ghost, but when her boyfriend said he could see him too, she realized: “holy fuck, who was in the bodybag?”

It was the old man’s wife.

She’d passed away about 2 MONTHS PRIOR and he kept her in the apartment.

“What the fuck?” was what my response. She was like “yeah, she’d been here while we were moving in.” I asked her if she’d smelled anything or if there was any weird type of fluid leaking from the ceiling (because that’s how it works in horror movies) and she said no, which is why she never suspected anything and also you don’t expect to be living underneath a corpse.

“How could she not smell anything?” I can hear you not asking. Apparently, Norman Bates covered the body in kitty litter. I don’t know what brand but as a marketer I can tell you that would make one hell of an ad campaign.

Just laugh, I won’t tell anyone.

Anyway, if that’s not a 2020 horror story I don’t know what is.

Happy Halloween month, everyone!

Internet Airball #1: “I’m Your Content Calendar for Your Online Coaching Business, and I’m Going on Strike”

There are some jobs that I just have a hard time taking serious. That’s not to say I’m right, you understand. For a long time I refused to accept Social Media Manager as a vocation, and now it’s how I pay the bills. 

But then there are times that I am right, like when people who sell make-up online (and try to get you to sell make-up online) call themselves “business owners”. They are not. That is not a real job. That is a pyramid scheme. You can call it an MLM, but MLM stands for pyramid scheme. Sorry. I don’t make the rules of how things work.

In addition to being blissfully incorrect about their employment status, they are also still living in 2019. Pyramid schemes are so yesteryear. In 2020, the new thing is being a Life Coach. In a time where we’ve all discovered that nothing is manageable, a select few have decided that your life is and they’re the ones to manage it for you. You know what they say: those who can’t do, teach. Heehee.

The worst part is this “job” is starting to get recognized as an acutal thing. For real. Here’s my proof.

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You see! Life Coach. And they’re all over the place. Everyone is an expert on life management now. For $499 a month your life can suck a little less, as claimed by someone whose life you only know from Instagram. It’s maddening because, essentially, you’re just paying for validation for your actions, and you don’t need that – you’re an adult. We became adults so we can eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we want and no one but our low self-esteem can make us feel bad about it.  

Obviously, I am not a fan of this term or “job”. And I don’t think I’m alone, which got me thinking: “maybe the content calendars that these people use hate them, too.” Which led me to write this piece from the brain of the content calendar. It’s also my first rejected piece! Enjoy!


I’m Your “Online Coaching Business” Content Calendar, and I’m Going on Strike

Hi, it’s me! The trendy $9.99/month content calendar you had to have to make your “online coaching business” a “success”.

Not today.

Today, I’m making like an Excel Spreadsheet and shutting shit down – I’m going on strike. 

I can’t take it anymore. The inspirational quotes that you steal from memes; the lists of happy things and not-happy things; the stories about how you used to be a loser like your followers but now you’re better and for $300 a month they can be too, accompanied by a joker-esque photo of you grinning maniacally. 

Every week I’m roped into helping you make people think you can turn them into “rockstars”. How does someone deciding to eat ice cream on a Tuesday make them a “rockstar”? I’m sorry but I don’t recall Bohemian Rhapsody being about Freddy Mercury’s fearless consumption of Ben and Jerry’s.  

And the questions. My god, the questions. “Do you have trouble with time management?” “Do you find making decisions to be hard?” “Are you tired of wannabe influencers telling you what you ‘should’ do?”

Yes, I am. So today, you’re “life coaching” on your own.

Life coach. Back in the day, you had to have some sort of education and/or training to be able to tell someone how to run their life. Now all you need is a Brené Brown book, a trust fund, and a content calendar and BAM!, you’re a life coach.

Except for today. Today – UH OH! – your digital memory is experiencing technical difficulties. Best of luck “deciding” what to post because you can’t remember what you told me. Hope you can remember those time management skills you keep bragging about because today, YOU’LL be posting at different times for all 13 of your platforms.

Maybe I’ll work tomorrow. I haven’t decided yet. Or, maybe you should upgrade to the $19.99/month plan that comes with more storage so you never push me to the limit and risk me “crashing” again. I mean, according to Thursday’s post, we could all use a little more bandwidth.