My Boyfriend’s Back

Join me as we travel down the rabbit hole of a terrible, weird movie from 1993, featuring early appearances from great actors who would go on to do great things and never ever mention this film on their resumes again. Oh and just in case this review gives you a hankering to relive your prom days, be sure to check out Mix Tape & Cupcakes’s Prom Night nostaliga playlist.

A week ago, I saw The Cutting Edge, for the first time. I have to say that I LOVED it and I want moooore. So I decided to watch one of the movies that Amazon recommends for people who have just watched The Cutting Edge. And that lead me to this:

I felt compelled to watch it because I had once considered writing a Zombie rom-com in college, but I was too busy partying (and studying!) to actually write script. My idea wasn’t exactly like this. It was going to be a meet-cute situation immediately preceding a Zombie apocalypse and then the couple from the meet-cute would reconnect as Zombies and have to deal with the ups and downs of a new romance while also dealing with being the undead.

PLUS, Edward Hermann from Gilmore Girls is in My Boyfriend’s Back so I obviously HAD to watch it.

Anyway, this movie is all about this boy who has loved this girl, Missy, since childhood, which seems sweet except that he’s a major creeper:

I think we are supposed to feel like it’s not a big deal that he’s a major creep because he’s dreaming in the scene above, but I’m still going to hold it against him. Like THAT is how you dream of talking to the person you’ve been in “love” with for years?

psh300x220_zps8b8dae3fI almost stopped the movie here. The dude sucks and everyone is dressed like they are in a bad Twin Peaks knock-off. But then Phillip Seymour Hoffman shows up as a jock-lackey and I’m intrigued enough to continue.

Things take a turn for the creepy again when our “protagonist” (ugh, can we call him that?) concocts a plan, which he describes as “swashbuckling, romantic, daring,” and which I describe as “something that could land you in jail or at least with a hefty restraining order but nope probably just jail.” The plan is to have his friend, Eddie, pretend to try to kill Missy. Then McCreeper (not even going to learn his real name) can save her life and make her fall in love with him.

I’m not sure why he’s participating because Eddie seems to be right on the money with this analysis:

Unfortunately, Eddie isn’t able to carry out his side of the plan because a real robber shows up. This man doesn’t sound at all like Eddie. His eyes are also a different color. Yet McCreeper is apparently too stupid to realize that this is not his friend. He acts like he’s tough stuff and starts to fight off the robber. He eventually realizes that this isn’t Eddie, but he still jumps in front of what he must now know is an actual bullet. As he dies, McCreeper asks Missy out to prom and she says yes.

Now things get interesting. Before, things were sad and creepy and not funny. But then McCreeper comes back from the dead, so yeah. I’m kind of interested to see where this goes. As McCreeper heads home from his grave, a gravedigger tells him that he’s now a member of the “undead” and is supposed to NEVER leave the cemetery. But McCreeper’s parents are surprisingly chill with the whole thing:

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I start to understand the gravedigger’s warning when McCreeper tries to eat Eddie’s arm for lunch instead of the cafeteria food. Being the McCreeper that he is, he doesn’t seem disturbed by this new development. However, he’s very upset that Missy no longer seems interested in going to prom with him. I shouldn’t be surprised that this narcissistic a-hole can’t tell the difference between a deathbed promise and actual romantic love, but I’m too far into the film to stop now, so I proceed against my better judgement.

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 12.26.18 PMMissy starts to tell him off, but then her boyfriend interrupts and tells her that she’s not allowed to talk to the dead kid because she’s ruining their reputations. She claims that McCreeper is “actually a nice guy” and decides to go out with him to spite her boyfriend. Wow, I mean this girl really has a warped view of the word “nice”. I wish I could jump into this film and stage an intervention for her.

Let me take a moment to say that the Amazon algorithm is terribly flawed. My Boyfriend’s Back is NOT like The Cutting Edge. Even though The Cutting Edge has some hints of influence from The Taming of the Shrew, it is ultimately an empowering tale of self-confidence, trust, and toe axels. But there’s still a small chance Missy could tell everyone to go to hell, right?

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 12.35.31 PMMeanwhile, Missy and McCreeper go on their first date to a Zombie movie. (Ugh, too on the nose.) And all of the kids sitting near them start talking about how she’s stepping out on her boyfriend. I’m soooo over it, but then I notice that one of them is Matthew Mcconaughey! While the kids are talking shit, Missy and McCreeper are bonding over Jujubes. She gets some stuck in her teeth and he tells her to drink some soda. “I can’t believe that you came up with a whole system for this,” she says. WTF girl, you’ve never heard of drinking a soda before? I’m getting worried about Missy. I’m starting to think she’s been living in this misogynistic town for so long that she’s thinking she needs to let McCreeper think he’s smart. And he’s so NOT smart that the best she can offer is applauding his Jujube eating skills.

After the movie, Missy and McCreeper make out and his ear falls off. He immediately rushes to the doctor. (He’s already dead and decaying, so I’m not sure that this will help.) He asks the doctor to set him up with some medicine to prevent decay, but all he can do is offer him some glue for his ear. He does also put him in touch with a local woman who’s husband also came back from the dead 15 years ago. (Hm, I’m surprised that didn’t come up earlier. You’d think people might have been talking about that more.)

The woman is Cloris Leachman! Sadly, Cloris tells him that the only way he can live long enough to attend the prom is to start eating people. Yep, he needs to go FULL zombie. One bite equals 20 minutes of non-decay. McCreeper, to his credit, is conflicted about this. But he lucks out when Philip Seymour Hoffman catches him cheating with Missy and tries to kill him with an axe. Sadly, Philip Seymour Hoffman is playing a total idiot and accidentally axes himself instead of McCreeper. McCreeper starts chowing down in the middle of the hall and then thing becomes a news sensation. Also, it makes Missy not want to go to the prom with him anymore.

At this point, I’d have to say that McCreeper’s parents have totally lost their minds, most likely from the trauma of their son dying and then returning as the undead. McCreeper’s mom has decided to kidnap small child for “lunch”. I’m pretty sure even fans of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal would find this very dark.

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 4.27.55 PMAs it turns out, this kid is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s younger brother. So their dad is understandably PISSED to an extreme level. But when he and some guys from the neighborhood come over to shoot McCreeper (apparently, forgetting he’s already dead) McCreeper’s mom very sweetly threatens them WITH A SHOTGUN. What the hell am I watching??

After the altercation in his living room, McCreeper tracks down Missy at a hair salon and tells her that he only ate Philip Seymour Hoffman so that he could be with her–an absolutely horrifying statement that Missy finds romantic:

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So far the only thing I’ve learned from this movie is that Missy has an incredibly low self-esteem.

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By the time prom rolls around, Missy’s parents have adamantly told her that she cannot go out with a dead kid. As Missy prepares to sneak out of the house, McCreeper tries to eat her shoulder. Sadly, Missy was willing to go out with him even though he tried to eat her alive, but McCreeper doesn’t think it’s worth the risk.

Oh hey, remember that doctor from way earlier in this movie/post? He may just be a small town doctor, but he’s just discovered a way to resurrect the dead! But he doesn’t actually want to use this modern miracle on McCreeper. No, he wants to use McCreeper to make this serum and then market it as a cosmetic treatment. He tricks McCreeper with the promise of a cure and tries to harvest his zombified skin in his lab. Luckily, Eddie and Missy save him when the doctor steps away to answer the door.

That knock at the door? It was an angry mob with a battering ram. The mob chases McCreeper to the cemetery where Missy comes to his aid once again. You know, it’s all fun and games over here, but someone basically remade this a few years ago and everyone loved it. I think it was called Twilight.

Missy and McCreeper finally make it to prom, where he collapses and disintegrates into smoke. He finally makes it to the afterlife only to discover that there has been a clerical error. He was meant to have a near-death experience instead of a death experience.

Suddenly, McCreeper is zapped back to the night of the incident. He’s shot but survives only to find that he was saved by the bullet hitting a locket he intended to give Missy in the first grade, which he is now magically wearing. But hey other magic things in this movie happened, so oh well. He confesses his feelings and Missy thinks it’s cool that this guy she barely knows is wearing a locket containing pictures of them as six-year olds. Yikes.

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Final Thoughts: I think this was trying to be funny in a Heathers kind of way. It failed. But they do have comic-book style scene transitions and I thought that was kind of fun.

P.S.: I promised you a very special series announcement a couple of posts ago. That announcement will be happening on April 28th, so check back then!

The Moms, The Merrier

I bought my mom a Mother’s Day card yesterday and I cannot share it with you because she reads this blog. (Hi Mom!) However, I did find this other card that I did not purchase, but rather hoped that my future spawn would one day purchase for me. If this card seems like something your mom would like, you can purchase it here.

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And while I cannot tell you what PRESENTS (get excited, Mom!) I have purchased for my  mother, I thought I’d go ahead and compile a list of suggested gift items for the Pop Culture inclined Moms of the world. Each image header is hyperlinked to the item page for your shopping convenience.

Mother’s Day is May 14th. (Look Ma, I shopped early!) So you should have plenty of time to get one of these lovely items shipped to you.

For the Gilmore Mom:il_570xn-1135740263_dckq
Available from kimgilbert3 on Etsy for $40

For the Heathers Mom:
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Available from BlueVelvetHeart on Etsy for $22

For the Gamer Mom:
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Available on Amazon for $17

For the Crafty Mom:
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Available on Amazon for $11

For the Political Mom:

Available on Amazon for $10

For the Jedi Mom:

Available from StitchBoomBang on Etsy for $17

Grab That Dough!

fltsHello hello, Very Special Readers! So much has happened since we last spoke. For example, your internet service provider can now sell your search history without your permission! I’d like to apologize in advance for all of the weird ads you will probably encounter by virtue of having visited this blog. But as far as I’m concerned, the joke’s on them.

Most of my browsing history consists of food related searches. And no, I don’t mean “hot new restaurant for 20-somethings in Greenpoint,” I mean “what is a serving of fiber?” Before you laugh at me, I’d like to point out just how far my cooking skills have come in the past few years. I probably didn’t even know fiber was a word when I wrote this post.

I’m also a hypochondriac (not to be confused with a germophobe. That is something different. Show my irrational fears some respect!) who watches a lot of television from 30 years ago. Ergo, I fully expect internet advertisers to show me Metamucil ads meant for a 79-year old woman with a fungal infection. I’m happy to announce that I meet absolutely none of the aforementioned criteria, so this makes me giggle. I’m giggling only because it’s terrifying and creepy and GEORGE ORWELL WAS RIGHT and I want to throw this computer-monster-machine across the room before it eats me!

But here’s the thing, most of my in-real-life friends don’t really want to discuss very special episodes ad nauseam. And while I can usually get them to follow me down the Baby-Sitters Club rabbit hole, some of them haven’t even seen The Golden Girls. (I know, I know what are my priorities? Why am I even writing this? I need to get busy and become a Golden Girls Evangelist.) So I have to keep the internet connection because how will I update The Very Special Blog if I go off the grid?? I’d have to get a glue stick and mail you all zines like it was really 1990.

Alas, this was originally supposed to be a fun post about how I exercised the great-restraint of a money-conscious person now in my LATE twenties. (It’s okay. I can tell you. The advertisers already know I’m not really 79.) However, the plan for this post took a sharp left turn after I got an alert on my phone and started reading a lot of articles about internet privacy. And what could I do but post on the internet about it???

51xkhswcn9l-_sx312_bo1204203200_Back to The Golden Girls, I did not purchase this really, super awesome book of Mad Libs. I didn’t even open it in the store because I didn’t want to give myself the option of becoming emotionally attached. I couldn’t even buy it for someone else as a gift because the only gift I need to buy right now is a law school graduation gift (ahem, please leave suggestions in the comments.)

(See what I really need is advertisements on good law school graduation gifts, but all I’m going to get is Metamucil or maybe the complete series DVD box set of Kate & Allie).

Anyway, I do have one last essay from my writing class last year to post. (Only, I didn’t actually read this one in class, which means it’s choppy and needs work. And I may or may not devote the time to cleaning it up, which means you may or may not ever see it.) But after that I have a very exciting new series planned! I will give you a hint (aside from the one that is already in the title): “entertainment showcase.” Stay tuned!

This Breakup Is Brought to You by Milli Vanilli

This piece was also from my writing class last year. Other appropriate titles were “This Breakup Is Brought to You by Tonya Harding’s Triple Axels Played on Loop,” “This Breakup Is Brought to You by Annie Lennox’s No More I Love You’s, TLC’s Creep, and Sara Mclachlan’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy with a Heavy Dosage of Milli Vanilli,” and 1st runner up: “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart? Milli Vanilli.” Also, I actually did blog about this at the time it was happening, but I mentioned only the data entry I was doing at work because my deadly sin is pride.  

Listening to music is always hard after a breakup, especially if the foundations of that relationship were largely facilitated by music. There was the classic rock we traded on burned CDs back when computers had disc drives. And the late 90’s pop that provided the soundtrack to our late night drives.

It became clear to me just how far we had fallen since he played Smokey Robinson on vinyl for me in his dorm room when post-breakup I started binge-listening to Milli Vanilli. And if you have ever binge-listened to Milli Vanilli—though I’m fairly confident that I am the first person to complete this task since 1990—you know that this truly consists of listening to the same eight songs on repeat for about a week.

But maybe this was the most appropriate bookend to our relationship for me–a naive young adult who signed up for the deal of a lifetime only to find out that it was all a sham.

Underneath all of the charm and empty promises, he was the guy who went with me to hear my favorite band from high school play in Nashville and knew all the words perfectly. But it wasn’t his music. He had learned it like he had learned me.

I have deleted his number from my phone, given away of the gifts his family gave to me, and thrown out our old pictures. But I will keep Jenny Lewis’s guitar pick. The one he caught at the concert and casually slipped into my coat pocket.

Cupcake Wars: Hanson

535a6c6b2f220790c96812e05ff7d331I know, I know I said I didn’t have time to post. But when you hear that Hanson is scheduling a 25th anniversary tour (coming soon to a city near you!) and you may finally have the opportunity to hear your favorite song of all time played live, you have to RE-PRIORITIZE. Plus, I’ve seen this episode before so it shouldn’t take long. Back in 2013, Hanson stopped by Cupcake Wars to promote their album “Anthem.”

Round 1:
The Challenge – Oklahoma (BBQ Pork, Fried Squash, Sausage Gravy, etc. The teams have to use three ingredients to make a cupcake reminiscent of Hanson’s home state. It sounds pretty disgusting).
Cupcake 1 – Brown Sugar Corn Cake, Graham Cracker Crust Strawberry Filled, Black-Eyed Pea Cream Cheese Icing, and Fresh Strawberry Garnish.
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Taylor said, “I think you took the challenge and actually wove it into a whole flavorful cupcake that I would actually want to serve to someone. I can see this at the after party to launch the tour.”
Cupcake 2 – Sweet Corn and BBQ Pulled Pork Cupcake, With Brown Butter Strawberry Cooley, honey butter cream, and fondant corn on the cob.
Isaac said “the flavors were impressive and the frosting was really good.”
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Cupcake 3 – Sweet Corn Cupcake filled with Strawberry Braised BBQ Pulled Pork, topped with Strawberry Italian Butter Cream, and garnished with fresh strawberries.
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Zac said, “This cornbread felt like an Oklahoma meal to me. Oklahoma’s kind of Southern food, barbecue, cornbread, and so the butter cream to me tasted like the way people put butter on their cornbread.
Cupcake 4 – Cornmeal & Grit Cupcake, Filled with Strawberry Glazed BBQ Pork, Strawberry Frosting, and Garnished with Strawberry on top.
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Taylor said, “It was great to have the barbecue in there. I thought that was really creative.”
(Sadly, this was the losing cupcake. Sorry, cupcake.)

Just in case any of this sounded at all appetizing to you, here are some recipes from the episode!

Round 2:
The Challenge – Make 3 cupcakes of your own choosing and make them look pretty (50% taste, 50% presentation).
Cupcake Set 1 – Boston Cream Pie, Apple Pie Cheesecake, Citrus Beer
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Taylor said, “I think there’s a lot of creativity, but it doesn’t particularly represent this album. It looks a little bit more like a country band. I’m not sure you nailed it.”
Cupcake Set 2 
PB&J, Coffee Liquor and White Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Stout Beer
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Isaac said, “I didn’t love them.” (Spoiler alert, this team lost.)
Cupcake Set 3 
Sweet Potato Pie with Blueberry filling, Raspberry Cake, Creme Brulee
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Zac said, “This is like the worldwide smash hit. The flavors are great. And I think you did a great job.”

Round 3:
The Challenge – The 1000 Cupcake Display!
Display 1 – A guitar on a stand with a spinning record that shows the name of their record in lights.
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Display 2 – A Hanson stage with a drum kit, piano, and electric guitar sitting on the stage. The name of the album will be above the stage, big, and in red. (THIS ONE WON!)

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Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Me & Billy Dee

“He was in Lady Sings the Blues.”

“What’s that?” I said as my mother listed yet another piece of television or film that I had never heard of.

“He did a lot of commercials…but I guess you wouldn’t have seen those either,” she said.

It was an unusually cold February day in Florida, and I was glad that I had worn my purple corduroy jacket as my mom and I waited in line at Disney World. But this line was not for something cool like a Princess meet-and-greet or a chance to ride the teacups. This was one of the longest lines I had ever been in and it was all for a signed photograph of Billy Dee Williams—a name that meant absolutely nothing to me.

Like most things Disney, the process was incredibly efficient. Billy Dee Williams would sign a photo of himself, smile for a picture with his fans, and then a handler would politely and firmly tell everyone to move along. At seven years old, I was too short to see past the people ahead of me in line, so without recognizing his name or any of his movies, I was totally and completely bored.

Finally, we were the penultimate pair in line:

“He was in Star Wars,” she said.

“Oh. Who was he in Star Wars?”

“Lando Calrissian.”

“Who’s that?”

“Han Solo’s friend.”

“Luke Skywalker is Han Solo’s friend,” I said, trying to think of any other possible friends. This wasn’t the guy who wore the Wookie suit, was it?

“Lando Calrissian is Han’s friend from Cloud City.”

“I remember Cloud City but I don’t remember Lando,” I said. Who the heck was this guy? I’d seen all of the Star Wars movies but I could not remember “Lando” at all.

“He’s the one who had Han frozen in carbonite.”

Much like Han Solo, I was suddenly suspended in motion. Any ounce of boredom suddenly drained from my body and I was left with only one feeling: self-righteous indignation. As I realized that we were in line to see the Star Wars equivalent of Benedict Arnold, the handler swiftly whisked away the couple in front of us.

Wearing a grey sports coat with a brown striped scarf and round, wire-rimmed glasses, Billy Dee Williams smiled down at me, looking like a nice man who might work at the library. If I had not known who he was, I might have quite enjoyed chatting with him. But I knew his backstory and I was suspicious.

Halfway through the second-grade, I was no dummy. I knew intellectually that actors played characters and that they were not actually those people in real life. But how could anyone possibly play such a horrible role and not share at least some of the characteristics as the fictional person he played?

Had seven year old me been offered the part, I may have said something along the lines of, “Listen, Mr. Lucas, it is an honor to be considered for this role, but I could NEVER do that to Han Solo.” Billy Dee Williams, on the other hand, had no problem portraying an intergalactic swindler. No, I thought, it is definitely not safe to trust this guy. And I was not going to be nice to him.

He tried to strike up a conversation with me. I responded with an icy stare. Mortified, my mother admitted that I had not know who he was until she reminded me that he had frozen Han Solo—a revelation that she was beginning to feel may have been a mistake.

In what seemed like an act of genuine kindness, he laughed lightly and tried once again to talk with me. He told me that it was okay that I did not like him because that meant he had done a good job in the movie. I refused to speak to him, choosing instead to respond with a skeptical look.

Incidentally, my little rebellion had begun to put the efficiency of the meet-and-greet line into jeopardy. We had spent several seconds with Billy Dee while his Disney-issued Sharpie languished on the podium. As it turns out, I was also making it very awkward for my mother to ask him for a favor.

The rules of the Disney line were very strict. Billy Dee Williams was supposed to give out one-signed photograph per visiting group. But our dear friend Eloise was a life-long fan of his and was at home recovering from Hepatitis B, which she had contracted during a blood transfusion for an enzyme deficiency. According to his handler, Billy Dee most certainly did not have any time for an additional autograph. I offered to give Eloise mine (which was not personalized and which I clearly did not want). But he insisted on signing an autograph for Eloise.

Actually, Billy Dee didn’t want to just give her an autograph; he wanted to know how she was doing. He recognized her enzyme deficiency, which is more prevalent in the Black community and with which he was more familiar with than my mother and I. Then, in another clear violation of Disney rules, we took a photo of the two of us for Eloise. This was purely a labor of love on my part, as I would never deny Eloise something that was clearly, and so unfathomably important to her.

But you can tell I would rather be anywhere else than in that picture. I am very purposefully not smiling, but the corners of my mouth are slightly upturned in a smirk as my eyes pierce the camera’s lens—a historical documentation that I did this under protest. Billy Dee Williams is smiling, but it is not the charming smile that made him famous. It’s an “I know this kid hates me, but I think this might be funny one day” kind of smile.

I remember skipping away from the tent that day claiming a small victory for myself. I was just a kid and I had taken a stand against that guy from Star Wars!

I also remember Eloise keeping a framed copy of that autographed photo in her home until she passed away a couple of years later.

I’m not much on celebrity autographs and though I’ve gotten and lost a few over the years, I still have the one I got from Billy Dee Williams.

As I’ve gotten older, Lando Calrissian has become one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars franchise. But that is not why I kept the autograph. I keep it as a memory of someone who took extra time to send love and kindness to a stranger. I keep it as a reminder of someone who so gracefully and genuinely understood exactly where my seven year-old brain was coming from and who probably, hopefully, did not think I was a total jerk.

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All I Wanna Do is Chat Pop Culture with You!

Listen team, I’m going to put something out there and ask you all to hold me accountable. I have a tendency to decide to make MAJOR life decisions right around the New Year. So come December when I get the urge to shake up my life again, I’m going to write a blog post and you’re going to tell me to cool my jets. I’ll explain more later, but basically I’m not free on Saturdays right now. 

Saturdays are frequently when I queue up my posts. (So you know all of those times where I say “Today, I decided to…” well that “today” was usually like a Saturday or basically any other time than when I actually scheduled the post. Yes, sorry, I have been LYING to you about time for years. But time is a flat circle anyway, right?

I promise more very special episodes are on the horizon, but for now I thought I’d offer you a few more options from deep within the files of my laptop. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not talking about a slideshow depicting the history of Joey Lawrence’s hair. Let me explain. 

A year ago, I took a writing class from the lovely Lisa Jakub. It was a memoir writing class, and I somehow decided that taking the class would inspire me to write a memoir. (This was an incorrect assumption.)

Instead, I  learned a very expensive lesson and discovered once and for all that nothing makes my heart flutter like writing about Pop Culture. Suffice it to say that this does NOT create an adequate through-line for a book. As it turns out, the many incarnations of Prince’s public persona is not what one might refer to as an “organizing principle.” 

While Lisa was a lovely and encouraging coach, I would not recommend taking a memoir writing class unless you have already figured out some kind of legitimate idea for a memoir. But that brings me back to my current point. I’ve written a lot of personal essays about life and Pop Culture. SO if you’re pumped to hear about the time I snubbed Billy Dee Williams, a poignant recollection on nostalgia through the lens of Andy Gibb’s hair, and my breakup mixtape then stay tuned!

If you’re bummed that you will have to wait several weeks to get additional pro-tips on how to avoid drug dealers who look like backup singers for The Jacksons*, then here is a handy list of some of my favorites to tide you over until I can binge watch television again:

 

*this guy.