Film Review: mother!

mother! is undeniably an achievement. A major movie studio funded this wildly ambitious project, filmed it with major movie stars and gave it a wide release. This might be an unparalleled achievement in today’s climate of superhero universes and multi-film franchises built from existing properties. At it’s most basic, superficial level, mother! is at least a creative, stand alone piece, even if it isn’t exactly what I would define as “original.”  It’s film with lofty ambitions, a star studded cast and than a little touch of delusions of grandeur, so it should come as no surprise that it has been immensely controversial.

I think the most successful part of mother! is that it will have us talking about it forever, but I have a hard time saying outright, that that is what makes it clever. In fact, I would argue that mother! suffers from thinking it’s a lot more clever than it is.

This film manages to capture perfectly the sensation of a panic attack, and sometimes the feeling of being gaslighted. The shaky cam and this shifting sense of reality triggered a real life headache for me, but I wouldn’t suggest having done it differently. It’s effective even if it is nauseating. Though I was uncomfortable in my seat, I knew Aronofsky was very much intending for me to me. Which is pretty mean-spirited if you think about the fact that I have never once in my life done anything to harm Aronofsky or his loved ones.

I’ve had a couple weeks to stew on this film and I think my biggest complaint is that this this film only works on one level — symbolically. The Biblical symbolism is heavy handed and relentless. It’s a one to one adaptation. This film has no subtext because the subtext IS the text. There’s only one viewing of this film: Javier is God, Jennifer is Mother Earth, the house is Planet Earth and the baby is Jesus etc. You can add other filters to it: Aronofsky as God, it’s actually a metaphor for artistic creation, it’s feminist, it’s misogynist, it’s about anxiety, etc etc but those are just lenses through which to view it. The story doesn’t really work on a surface level- it’s all just symbolism and filters.

I mean, could this marketing BE anymore on the nose?

Oh Brother Where Art Thou is an allegory film that works much better for me. It functions a fundamental plot basis but it also works beautifully as a nearly one to one retelling of The Odyssey. What I love about this film is how intelligently the adaptation is woven into the story. The symbolism and allusions to Homer’s The Odyssey, feel like rewards when you notice them and put them together. The film operates on both levels with the same about of skill and I am always impressed when a work is able to do this and I think that is why mother! left me feeling disappointed. It seems rather proud of itself for it’s high minded, religious allegory, and Aronofsky himself seems worried people won’t “get it.” He’s spent a shameful amount of time since it’s release trying to “explain” the film, but frankly, it doesn’t need explaining. I would say there were very few people who sat through the whole thing and never once put the allegory together.  I firmly believe the uproar surrounding this film has less to do with people not understanding it, and more to do with unmet expectations and individual tastes level.

There are moments in this film, where even I, a person who appreciates when art pushes its arbitrary boundaries, felt as though it had gone too far. There are moments that force you to not just step outside your comfort zone, but to bask in it and I honestly don’t think the film earns the right to do so. So much of this film did not feel earned to me.  Things just started happening and you are just supposed to be impressed with the symbolism. Extreme violence happens and I feel as thought I’m being punished for not having walked out of the theater already.

I am still thrilled this got made. We need more experimentation and original (though I’m not sure I think this qualifies as truly original since it’s basically an adaptation of the creation myth) films on wide release. We need more creativity and audacity in cinemas and I think that is were mother! really delivers.

This was a tough sit, and it asks a lot of it’s audience, so it is no surprise to me that audiences gave it an F Cinemascore. It was marketed as a psychological thriller but it’s something even more unsettling than that and I don’t blame audiences for feeling duped. In fact, I don’t blame “average” viewers at all.  As someone who really enjoys film and art, I also felt a little duped and disappointed but I think that’s okay.

I’ll end by saying that I’m deeply conflicted. It’s not completely without value, but I didn’t love it. I don’t even think I can say that I liked it.  I was captivated while watching it but would prefer to never experience it ever again. I’m also more than a little turned off by people (Aronofsky especially) thinking that this is some brilliant, hyper-intelligent work of art. I think mother! has already secured itself a very interesting place in film history and that we have only just begun a very long dialogue about  its merits and failures that will last until the our apocalypse. Hopefully, we won’t have to start all over again.


5 Netflix Gems for Thrills and Chills

As a child, I would do anything to avoid “scary” movies. I was terrified of being terrified. I didn’t watch Jurassic Park until I was 22 years old because I saw the opening scene of one of the sequels as a child and had nightmares for years.

However, slowly this changed. I got really into ghost story novels and paranormal investigation TV shows in late elementary school. Then in middle school I discovered Carrie and The Others during the same Halloween party. It took a few more years but by the time Paranormal Activity 3 came out, I had already binged the first two and was able to watch it in person (with a friend…and yes we screamed a lot). It flipped a switch in me and now I LOVE horror, specifically of the tense, thrilling, supernatural variety. (I still don’t watch home invasion, torture-fest type horror films, so you will find no such recommendations below.)

If you’re in the mood for some Netflix and Thrills, check these titles out:

The Babadook (2015)

Written and Directed by Jennifer Kent

This was one of my favorite films, of any genre that came out in 2014. It checks all the right boxes for me. It’s supernatural, it’s character driven, it’s beautifully made and it’s absolutely terrifying. This is quite possibly the scariest movie I’ve ever seen and I’m so eternally grateful that I got to see it in theaters, though I imagine it’d be just as effective in a dark living room with the volume turned up nice and high. If your sound system is lacking in quality, I recommend watching on your laptop with headphones because  the sound editing and mixing was phenomenal.

The acting from both of the protagonists was simply enthralling and I hope we see more from Essie Davis, because her performance completely wrecked me. I hung on her every move.

Warning: my muscles were sore when I left the theatre from being so tense. This will have you on the edge of your seat.

It Follows (2014)

Written and Directed by David Robert Mitchell

My only suggestion is to not watch this movie for the first time directly after Babadook like I did because I found that I wasn’t able to appreciate it for its merits as it was constantly comparing it to Babadook. However, I watched It Follows about a year later and absolutely adored it.

For one, it has impeccable style. This is a movie that looks gorgeous. The set design, the costuming, the cinematography are all really lovely without being ostentatious or showy in any way.  They compliment the simple, chilling plot very well.

It Follows asks you to imagine that some STDs are actually just terrifying, shapeshifting, relentless entities that just follow you around until they catch  and brutally murder you and the only way to get rid of it is to sleep with someone else and pass it on, and if you agree to those perimeters, it takes you a wild, chilling ride.

The Invitation (2015)

Directed by Karyn Kusama, starring Logan Marshall- Green who is definitely not Tom Hardy

After you’ve been babashook by The Babadook and had your sexually transmitted horror fix from It Follows, tune into The Invitation for a tense, emotional thriller.  This movie has a lot to love: tension you can cut with a knife, a heartbreaking backstory, a dash of unsettling humor and an eerie mystery both you and the protagonist need to solve.

Is Logan Marshall-Green’s ex-wife’s dinner party a cover up for something much more sinister or is his grief and heartache just getting to him? Make sure you find out for yourself.

Hush (2016)

Written and Directed by Mike Flanagan

Okay, so I said no home invasion, but I lied. This is the exception. I decided to break my No Home Invasion Movie rule for this because I was excited by the premise. The protagonist, Maddie, played by Kate Siegal, is deaf.  It’s kind of the opposite premise of Don’t Breathe (2016).  Instead of a blind but super-hearing antagonist, Hush has a deaf and normal seeing protagonist. Maddie’s deafness is played as both an obstacle and a benefit to her and it’s always wonderful to see diversity in all films, even horror.

This movie might fall apart a bit in second act, but the finish is strong. The way this film resolves its conflict is creative and unlike a lot of films in this genre, you’ll actually fall in love with the protagonist.

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

Written by Lynne Ramsey, Directed by Lynne Ramsey, Rory Stewart Kinnear, and Lionel Shriver

This is not your traditional horror film. There aren’t any ghosts haunting any houses or masked serial killers chasing damsels in night gowns. There aren’t even any demons possessing anyone. It’s just people.  This is a psychological horror film about motherhood. Eva Khatchadourian, played by the inimitable Tilda Swinton, has a child despite not seeming all that enthused by the idea. From inception, Eva struggles to bond with her son, Kevin and their problems only intensify as Kevin grows from a troublesome toddler to a psychopathic teen.

There are many scenes where nothing is necessarily happening action-wise, but it’s so tense and horrible that you hold your breath anyway.  The subject matter is heavy but haunting and this movie will absolutely keep you up at night longer than any slasher film ever made.


Other Netflix Horror to check out:

  • Tucker and Dale VS Evil
  • I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In This House
  • Lavender
  • Housebound


5 Netflix Gems For Date Night

For a brief, exhilaratingly span of 8 months, I worked from home. What I thought would be an introvert’s dream, was actually just pretty boring. The only thing I truly loved about it, was getting to roll out of bed five minutes before clocking in and that I got to watch an incredible amount of movies and TV during the day.  Now that I work in an office again, I’m starting to miss having the time to explore Netflix catalog.  Not everyone has had time (or the desire) to sift through all the content Netflix has to offer to find something worth watching, especially if they are just trying to have a nice date with someone special. Maybe that’s why you’re here, trying to get some recommendations. Well, dear Reader, I’ve got your back. Here are some quality Netflix gems for you and your date to enjoy.

The Last 5 Years (2014)

Written and Directed by Richard LaGravenese

This is maybe my favorite movie adaptation of a musical to date. The music, written by Jason Robert Brown, is both beautiful and accessible but always evocative. If you don’t experience every emotion under the sun while watching this, you’re a cylon.  Anna Kendrick is a delight (unsurprising, I know) and her chemistry with Jeremy Jordan is electric.  Jeremy Jordan brings a much needed likability to the role of Jamie with his adorable face and charming demeanor but it’s his golden pipes that seal the deal.

The way this musical plays with time really breathes some life into the sometimes tired romance genre. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll tap your toes- what more could you want?

In Your Eyes (2014)

Directed by Brin Hill, Written/Produced by Joss Whedon

Do you love original ideas? Do you love romance with a hint of magic? Do you love Joss Whedon? Then you will love In Your Eyes.  It’s not a runaway success, but it takes what could have easily been a trite and melodramatic concept and turns it into something with depth and heart.  The always lovely and captivating Zoe Kazan might only be engaging in a metaphysical affair with the hunky Michael Stahl-David but their chemistry is electric.

In Your Eyes is a romance but it’s as smart as it is fun. Whedon’s flair for dialogue is present throughout without being overbearing or hokey and proves that he’s capable of making smaller, more down-to-earth fair.


TiMER (2009)

Written and Directed by Jac Schaeffer

Staring Buffy‘s Emma Caulfield, TiMER is a near-future sci-fi romance in which everyone has an implanted ticker that counts down to when they meet their soulmate.  Emma Caulfield is an absolutely delight. She carries this film with ease, and you really find yourself caring deeply about her situation.  Though the premise could feel a little Creative Writing 101, they truly explore the consequences in a meaningful way. Think of this as a less miserable and devastating Black Mirror and enjoy the ride.

Blue Jay (2016)

Directed by Alexandre Lehmann and written by Mark Duplass

If you loved Before Sunrise, you’ll love Blue Jay (and if you haven’t see Before Sunrise, I can’t recommend it enough, but it is not currently on Netflix) as the events happen in near real time.  I watched it during the day by myself and was so moved by it, I made my husband sit down and watch it with me again that night. Though it was “written” by Mark Duplass, it was largely improvised. His previous hit, The One I Love followed this method and I have to say I love it. Improvise drama is such a special thing. It really brings a palpable vulnerability to the performances and creates the illusion of authenticity in a really interesting way. This filmmaking style is a perfect fit for this films tender examination of what it’s like to run into someone you used to love now that you are different people.

The shining star of this little gem is Sarah Paulson. I truly believe this woman is capable of anything. She’s done nothing but churn out incredible performances for the past several years and it was really thrilling to see her step into a leading role. Mark Duplass is great, but Sarah Paulson’s performance is the one that you’ll be thinking about while you’re trying to go to sleep two weeks later.

Sing Street (2016)

Written and Directed by John Carney

This was easily one of the top five best movies of 2016, and it is CRIMINAL that none of its songs were nominated for an Oscar.  This is also hands down the most feel good movie on this list, so if you and your honey wanna snuggle up and just have a great night, I highly recommend this one.  It’s cute, it’s heartfelt, the songs are total bangers and it’s got a fun 80’s Ireland setting. The actors gives great performances, not just as actors but as musicians too.  I am very excited to see what these kids will do in the future and I don’t think you want to miss out on seeing how they got their start.

If you liked John Carney’s Once and Begin Again (and of course you did, because you’re not a monster), you’ll love Sing Street. 


6 Tips for First Time Home-Buyers

My grandma’s house. Definitely not for sale, but pretty stinkin’ cute, huh?

Let me preface this post with a declaration that I am not an expert on home buying. I’m in the middle of buying a house (different than the one featured in the previous post, an explanation will come) and despite this, I spend half the time feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. However, I have learned some things and I think I have a little wisdom to share with those who are thinking they’d like to maybe own a house. So here are some First Time Home Buyer tips from one Millennial to another (don’t worry, you can have avocado on toast if you want).

1. Discover Your Budget

This is probably the most important step and should be done right away. I did not start with this step myself and it can, technically, be switched with the second step, but it’s kind of the first Real Thing to be done.

Ask your friends/coworkers who have recently bought a house for  Mortgage Broker recommendations. You can always just do a Google Search, but asking people you trust is a good way to find someone you trust. We were able to find someone local, which was even better. You basically give them all your information regarding your finances and they tell you what your budget is and can Pre-Approve you for a certain amount. I think this step is so important to avoid heartache later. The house we are currently buying, was almost bought by someone else, but last minute, their funding fell through and they had to walk. You don’t want to fall in love with a house and get deep in the trenches of negotiations and inspections (which cost nonrefundable money, by the way) only to find out you don’t qualify for a loan that large!

2. Familiarize Yourself with Potential Neighborhoods

Indianapolis is a mixed bag of a city and so this step was critical for me. A couple blocks can make a world of difference in terms of crime rates and curb appeal (and often, it’s just a matter of streets). I had to prowl Zillow and take many an evening drive to figure out which neighborhoods had houses I loved while also feeling safe. There are neighborhoods in Indy that are “up-and-coming” but have been for twenty years so each street might have a couple of fully renovated dream houses, straight off of HGTV but be next to condemned, graffiti covered houses that last sold for about the same as a luxury car. Find out what you’re comfortable with, find out what you can afford and see if they are compatible.

Decide whether you want to be able to relax in peace and quiet on your porch or people watch. Either way, how cute is my mom’s porch??

3. Make a Must Haves List

Think about what you MUST have.  Do you need a house without stairs and main level laundry? Do you need a walk in closet to hold your fabulous wardrobe? Would it not feel like home without a working fireplace? These are things you need to think about. Then consider what you would like but could negotiate on. For instance, I would settle for just one bathroom if it had a basement functional for entertaining but I’d give up a finish-able basement for the right neighborhood. These  don’t have to be set in stone. My negotiables changed as I started seeing houses in person. Your realtor should ask you a million questions regarding your Dream House (perfect, ideal scenario) and your Must Haves (realistic scenario). Knowing your budget and knowing what’s realistic for your budget might take a little extra research but it’s important to do this so you know how to manage your expectations.

4. Use Zillow AND Trulia.

Basically, don’t just use one site. These sights are NEVER as up to date as your realtor’s information will be, but they can be a useful tool. Zillow is more up to date than others, I’ve found, but Trulia helps you determine crime rate and school zones and all that other kind of stuff you might care about. They also provide neighborhood information which, as I’ve already mentioned, can be invaluable to you.  I spent hours a day for a full year researching listings. Every  day I would browse listings in my budget to get a feel for what was out there. That’s how I found my neighborhoods and my Must Haves that were actually in my budget. I HIGHLY recommend this.

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5. Find a Realtor You Trust.

Ask around. Unless you are brand new to an area and don’t know a single soul there, I would crowd source this. If you don’t trust your realtor, it makes the process a thousand times more stressful. Buying a house is just one bit heartbreak waiting to happen, ESPECIALLY in a seller’s market. I’ve fallen in love with an imperfect house, only to find out that the sellers have already received a highly competitive offer and I’d have to make a poor financial decision to win the bid. I walked away from that (truly devastated) but then found something I loved again that was a better investment later.  I’ve also had to walk away from a house after an inspection. You have to make a lot of very important, very critical decisions regarding your finances both current and future when you buy a house and it’s absolutely necessary to have a realtor you trust to help push you in the right direction.


Inspections are not cheap. In Indianapolis, ours ran about $500 for the standard inspection. However, unless you are a talented flipper with lots of resources, you want to know the condition of the house! Certain defects in a house can literally make the house unsafe (and the seller might not have disclosed them either because they didn’t want you to know or they didn’t know themselves) while other defects can cost thousands of dollars (broken sewer lines, crumbling foundations, severe roof damage, just to name a few). These are things most home owners are aware could potentially be a problem down the road, and are risks you assume when buying a home but these are not things you want to be surprised with! Especially if you are just starting out and don’t have thousands of dollars sitting in savings just waiting to be dumped into a structural repair of your home. We loved the first house we had our offer accepted on, only to find that after the inspection, there were a lot of indicators that the renovations weren’t as well done as they seemed. There were a lot of known repairs that needed done and probably more we didn’t know about. It soon became clear it was not going to be the great investment we thought and we had to walk. This is not uncommon and should be something you’re always prepared to do.

Bancroft Bungalow
The house we had to walk from. Good Bye Bungalow. Good bye Urban Chickens.

I might come up with more tips as I wade my way through this second negotiation but I think this is a good start.  I think the take away from this should be DO YOUR RESEARCH! Knowledge is power and that’s never more true than when buying a house. Empower yourself with knowledge so that you are prepared for anything and are not vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Actually, this is great advice for life itself, so try and take that to heart.

Good luck!


Game Review: Sagrada

A lovely, playable game for the whole family.

Gen Con, 2016, Josh and I demoed this beautiful, interesting prototype for a dice game called SagradaI was immediately into it because when I was 16 I went on a school trip to Barcelona and got to go inside (and up the perilously high towers of) Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia. There’s something magical about the cathedral that’s been under construction for over 200 years. That level of dedication and persistence and love is kind of hard not to appreciate. It’s also monumentally beautiful.

Terrible picture I took of it back in 2009 on a crummy digital camera

How to Play

And Sagrada certainly makes good on its inspiration. The object of the game is to create your own stained glass pattern using colorful numbered die and to outscore your opponents. You score points by collecting high numbered die of your assigned color (which is secret) and by hitting objectives laid out at the start of the game (there are multiple objective cards and you only play three at a time so there’s lots of variety for multiple plays). The stained glass card itself also has restrictions, for example; one place might require a green die while another requires a 4.  Regardless of which stained glass card you have, everyone must obey the following rules: no two die of the same color or face value may be placed next to each other. You lose points for not following the rules and unfilled spaces.

The Look

It’s gorgeously designed. The dice are transparent, like little cubes of stained glass and all the pieces are quality and nice to look at. Definitely worth the value just for aesthetic purposes alone.

Just look at how beautiful it is!

Multiple Plays

This game definitely lends itself to being played again and again. The Stained Glass cards come in varying degrees of difficulty and there are multiples of each level. There are different objective cards to switch out and the assigned color per player can change every game. No two games are going to played the exact same way.  The mix of strategy and  luck involved in game play keeps it interesting. The last few rounds can be really intense while you try and make what you have available to you in terms of dice actually fit in what available spaces you have, but for most of the earlier rounds it can be a calm and low energy game play which makes it great for playing after dinner on a week night when you don’t have much energy for anything else. I foresee my husband and I playing this often.

We’re Buying a House!

A few weeks ago, Josh and I got an appointment to view a really cute house in Emerson Heights, just a few streets over from the coveted Irvington area. We had been contemplating buying something for a while but we didn’t know where to start. We assumed we’d look for a few months and then make a decision but that apparently is very much not how the market is right now.

According to our realtor, not only is it a Seller’s Market right now (Go figure. It’s been a buyer’s market since I was sixteen years old. I’ve got terrible luck…) but the market in the neighborhood we were looking at was so hot some people have even made offers on houses they hadn’t seen in person yet! So when we toured this cute little Emerson Heights bungalow that had just undergone a full and beautiful renovation with a sizable, fenced in back yard and URBAN CHICKENS, we decided to make an offer.

Bancroft Bungalow
Josh, looking excited on the porch of our Potential New Home. 

The offer was accepted by the sellers so now we are in the very fun Escrow process (I am only 85% sure I’m using that word correctly and only because I saw Neighbors 2).  We had an inspection early this week and the results were pretty promising. We are just waiting to see how the appraisal goes and what, if any anything, the sellers are willing to fix or negotiate with us on.  I’m hopeful we’ll get what we want so we don’t have to walk away.

Also, on a mostly non-related side note, I recently bought a Canon EOS Rebel t5i as a generous gift to myself in honor of my new job. I’d been wanting a nice DSLR for a few years now. I’ve always really enjoyed photography from a super amateur, hobbyist perspective but this blog has presented me with an Official Reason™ to finally make the purchase. I want to be able to provide quality pictures on my posts that were taken from my phone.

I’m also the Social Media Coordinator for Circle City Chamber Choir (known as C4) and I was really wanting to get more videos our work out there. In high school and college, I dabbled around with short film making and so I’m looking forward to flexing those muscles to help support my amazing choir.

Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?

I got it only a couple hours before the Autumn Android’s Regarding, Entropy release party a couple weeks ago, but decided to take it with me anyway. It was a tiny, dark venue (very reminiscent of the movie Green Room) but I still managed to catch some decent shots for a first attempt. I did not use the flash due to the fact that I was by far the least cool person in this very underground music scene space and did not want to draw attention to myself in anyway.

Autumn Android’s party was a super success in my opinion. They sounded great and I was really impressed by all the other bands that performed, especially this all girl punk band, Bloodlines.  They’re from Muncie and they quite literally rock. They said they do a lot of work with Girl’s Rock Camp and I think that’s quite possibly the coolest thing ever and you should definitely check them out.  Slideshow below is just a few shots I got with my new camera:

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I think I’m going to have a lot of cool things to share with you in the near future, so please stay tuned.

Much love,


Autumn Androids Deliver Real Human Emotion (Guest Spot)

Regarding: Entropy
Album art by Adam Dick
Hello, friends! I haven’t updated in a few weeks because I’ve been transitioning into my new job, but I didn’t want to leave you stranded without quality IndyDahling content. So I have arranged for something very special for you this week: a Guest Spot article written by my husband, reviewing Autumn Androids’ latest album, Regarding: Entropy.  He’s a little more plugged into the music scene than I am, so hopefully I can get him to do this for us more often. Enjoy!

Autumn Androids Deliver Real Human Emotion

By: Josh Brown

When I saw Autumn Androids live a few weeks ago it was a great experience. They were easily able to command the room and fill it with energy. Song after song from their upcoming album was played and it was clear this would be a record to look out for. I was excited to hear for myself how well these tunes transferred from the loud, live stage to a pair of headphones. As soon as I heard the drums kick in on the opening track, “Fireflies”, any question of quality was put aside. Regarding: Entropy brings the same crackling energy of a live performance and delivers it straight into your home.

Autumn Androids
Autumn Androids from left to right: Austin Wooton, Chris Woods, Ricky White and Alec Ward

Autumn Androids shows an incredible amount of confidence with this album. That is not as surprising when you learn that ¾ of the band were together previously under a different name; Good News/Bad Wolf, but it is still exciting to see a new entity get off on such strong footing. Throughout the album, the instruments all blend together smoothly and allow the vocals of Ricky White to skip off of the melodies and propel themselves to the front of the tracks. A lot of what lets the music really shine is the recording and mix, handled by Austin Wooten (he also plays guitar, piano, and contributes to the vocals).

Regarding: Entropy strikes a tricky balance. Looking at the tracklist, you will see titles like “Morgan County Misery” and “Lonely Summer” and may think that an hour of depression is heading your way. And yes, there is talk of regret and loneliness that White’s falsetto can deliver with striking vulnerability, but the music around these vocals is always full and present as well. Whether it be a dancing of sticks on cymbals by percussionist Chris Woods, a continuous thrum of a bass line from Alec Ward, or the constant strum of guitar from the already mentioned Wooten, there is always something that you’ll find your feet start to tap to. This band, which on their Facebook page describes themselves as indie pop folk rock, succeeds at giving us all of these genres. There’s the more quiet acoustic sound on a song like “I’d Rather Stay”, but also the full embrace of rock on the sprawling “Tried My Best (Family: It’s What’s For Dinner)”.

What keeps me coming back to this album even after a few listens is that the band obviously had things they wanted to say, and they say them incredibly well. You feel the ache when you hear White tell you that “these bones are telling me I’m old”. The lyrics get stuck in your head, but the emotions stay with you just as long. This debut solidifies a strong vision that no doubt will propel the band toward a bright future. Entropy can be defined as “a gradual decline”, but for Autumn Androids, it’s a welcome acceleration.

Album Release
Regarding: Entropy releases April 28th.

Isn’t Josh the best? Anyway,  huge thank you to him. Also, you absolutely HAVE to come to release party on Friday at Showroom Studios and this band live, it’s a lot of fun. Click here for more info.   It starts at 7. See you there!

Life Moves Fast: A New Beginnings Reboot

They always say that life moves fast, but I seriously have whiplash over how quickly my life has changed in the past seven days.  A few weeks ago I posted my first blog post entitled “New Beginnings and Other Cliches”  and I intended it to be the first chapter in a new adventure for myself. But as any author knows, sometimes you get a few chapters into a project and realize the timing is just not right, or you get another idea (or both at the same time) and you move on to a different project.  And folks, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

As of right now I am no longer enrolled in a Transition to Teach program, and I no longer have any immediate plans to become an English teacher. English is one of my most beloved subjects and Education is something I value and respect above almost everything else in life, but I don’t think my timing is quite right.

Just a few weeks ago, I was starting to get very nervous about how I was going to support myself and my little family while I got this certification. My initial plan had been to just work my current job full time and do class at night and hopefully save enough to carry me through student teaching. This was a good plan. This was the plan I had in mind when I applied and enrolled in this program. However, not even five days prior to starting my class, I was laid-off.

Why didn’t I mention this before? Well, because  I was a little embarrassed about it to be honest, despite it being no fault of mine own, and I thought it over-complicated my narrative. But this is my blog, about my life and my life, just like yours, is complicated and I should be honest about that.  So here I was: enrolled in school, laid off, and suddenly without a plan. I immediately went to work finding employment. I put my feelers out everywhere, but mostly intended to Substitute Teach everyday. This was not a very financially secure plan and I was starting to get nervous so when a friend said he could get me an interview for a position at a super cool tech company downtown, I jumped on it.

I took this just after my interview. Not one hour later I had a fever and sore throat. I wasn’t lying when I said there were a lot of rapid transitions this week!

Long story short, I had the best interview of my life last week and four days later I was offered this amazing job that I really believe is going to do nothing but open a lot of doors for me. Remember in my first post, when I wrote about how this was going to be a blog about transitions? I wasn’t lying. We are four months into this year and I feel like I have started every month out in a completely different life-situation. It’s totally jarring to wake up one day and suddenly have something happen that changes everything and then to have days like that with startling frequency. Is that what it’s like for everyone in their twenties or am I just having a particularly wishy-washy experience? I don’t want to spend too much time being anxious about what these changes look like from the outside, mostly because I don’t care what anyone thinks and also because it fundamentally doesn’t matter.  I’m in a state of transition. I probably will be for a while. That’s okay. That’s what our twenties are for! (I think. If anyone knows what exactly we are supposed to be doing right, message me ASAP.)

So my friends, I’ve accepted this job offer and I’m dropping out of school. I still think being a teacher would be really neat someday, but I don’t think today is that day.  I promised to write a blog about transitioning into adulthood and Indy and well, I’m still going to do that, I’m just doing it from a different perspective. I can’t imagine there’s anyone who knows me that would call me a risk taker, but I’m not going to play it safe this time. I’m going to step-out on a limb and see what I can do. If you’re still reading this, thanks for being nosy about me and my life and wish me luck.

Much love,



Love Poems from Outer Space: a kick-off for National Poetry Month

“Of Love and Galaxies” by Kristin Bowlby. Watercolors. 2016

I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I want to use this blog and what I want it to be but since April is National Poetry Month, I wanted to celebrate by sharing one of my more recent “finished” poems. (I say “finished” because anyone who writes poetry knows that it is never finished. Every time you come back to it, no matter how much time has passed, you find yourself making changes.)  My friend, Kristin, and I have dabbled with the idea of doing a collaboration where I write poems and she does illustrations. We want the collection of poems to chronicle a romance in a near-future colony in outer space. Sounds pretty cool, huh? We think so too.


Of Love and Galaxies

When our grandparents used to do this
they were looking at different stars.
They didn’t know there were other worlds,
other systems with life and love and us.
They saw these little burning specks of light
and did not see them as living things
but as souls or wishes; holes in heaven.
They could not have imagined
that that we would be out here
looking at different stars.

When I look in your eyes I see galaxies,
worlds inside you that I cannot fathom
but long to explore and inhabit.
I feel how our parents must have felt
when they journeyed into their last frontier
and found that it was only the beginning.
Everytime I think I know all there is to know
you teach me something new about us both.
Just like they made this sphere their home,
I have made you mine.

I have made you mine
“Just like they made this sphere their home,/ I have made you mine” by Kristin Bowlby. Watercolors. 2016


My mother used to sing me lullabies
about oceans that stretched horizons,
hugging the curves of its earth
like a lover on a deep winter morning.
I can’t imagine that much water
having only seen ponds and lakes
I don’t see how the planet didn’t drown.

My mother used to wrap me in blankets
Oceans are skies you can swim in
and then I’d dream of flying with feathered fish
and birds with gills in an ocean of air.
This was better than the nightmare cell-memories
I’d have of inky hellscapes with liquid black holes
devoid of light but not life.
I prefer the sky.
Mother says she did too. Said they all did in the end.

I thought maybe I’m in that nightmare now
Sinking deeper and deeper;
Surrounded yet alone.

I am not dreaming,
But we are still drowning.


“Oceans are skies you can swim in” by Kristin Bowlby. Watercolors. 2016.


In college, I loved poetry writing classes the most. I love storytelling but I also love to play with words and sounds. It’s almost like doing a poem except the finished project is mine and not a reproduction.  I love that I can sit down and spend a couple hours writing a poem and then have a (mostly) finished product when I’m done. Unlike writing fiction, which can take months or years to complete, it’s encouraging as a writer to have something you’re proud of after only a few sessions of working on it.

Hopefully one day soon our collaboration will be complete. In the mean time, I’m going to devote this month to writing and reading great poetry. Keep your eyes peeled for recommendations that I will be posting this month!




Book Recommendations: Women Authors

In honor of International Women’s Day, I’ve decided to quickly round up some of my favorite books that have been written by women. In high school, almost every book I was assigned to read ever was written by a man. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of reading about the same old, self-inserted, disenchanted white dude that has flooded literature for centuries. Let’s mix it up. Here are my suggestions.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.”

This novel follows Ifemelu and Obinze and their relationship with America, Africa and each other. Very rarely does a book manage to be both educational and entertaining while telling it’s story, but Americanah does both in spades. The characters are complex and rich and beautiful and I loved every moment I got to spend with them. By the end of the book they felt like people I had known for a very long time.

Adichie writes honestly about race and the immigrant experience and it really helped me to see the world I live in from a perspective I’ll never actually get to see firsthand. Her prose is clean and inviting and I had a hard time putting this book down.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”


This one has become frighteningly more relevant as the years have passed, which should be frightening to us all as this was written as simply speculative, near-future fiction. The United States is ruled by a Totalitarian Theocracy (that had successfully overthrown the established democracy, mind you) and now entire classes of women are being kept as vessels for childbearing and nothing else. Offred is a fascinating protagonist that I think many women can identify with, although the writing style can be off-putting to some.

Hulu is airing a mini-series based on it this year and it is devastatingly timely, so I recommend picking this up at your local bookshop and diving right in.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

“Does it ever stop? The wanting you? Even when i’ve just left ye, I want you so much my chest feels tight and my fingers ache with wanting to touch ye again.” 

Though this is one of the most beloved romance novels of all time, do not think this will be a fluffy, sexy, little intellectual break compared to the previous books on this list. This behemoth of a book has about 900 pages filled with mystery, romance, horror and history. There’s literally something for everyone here. I felt like an expert on the history of Scotland when I was done with this book but all the learning was done without me even noticing.  I actually recommend the audiobook version of this more than I do actually reading it yourself because Davina Porter gives an excellent performance and her accents are truly incredible.

Gabaldon clearly researched like mad for this and I’ve never read anyone who writes as sensual or as achingly heartsick as she does. You’ll fall in love reading this book.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”

This book grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me directly in the eyes and did not break contact until I understood exactly what it was trying to tell me. If this has never happened to you while reading a great book, I feel sorry for you and I recommend you keep reading to find that experience.  This novel explores the realities of what it’s like for Indian-Americans to feel trapped between two cultures and how they reconcile their new lives with their old lives. The Ganguli family  are at the center of this story and we see how the parents came to be together, how they struggle to raise their son in America and he struggles to come of age with immigrant parents. It’s honest, it’s heartfelt and I couldn’t put it down.


Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

“Dear Scarlett! You aren’t helpless. Anyone as selfish and determined as you are is never helpless. God help the Yankees if they should get you.”

This sweeping, Civil War epic is much more than a romance novel. In fact, I’m utterly shocked it’s considered a romance at all. This book is about the folly of the Southern society before and during and after the Civil War and how one woman, Scarlett O’Hara managed to survive despite her gentile upbringing. It’s a funny, frustrating and tragic story. If you’re looking for a bodice-ripping, heart-aching love story, I recommend you go back and read Outlander. The romance in Gone with the Wind, while famous, is secondary to growth and development of Scarlett. I’ve never seen a protagonist quite like her. She’s silly, vapid and selfish, but her hunger for survival is ruthless and somehow all these negative attributes make her likable. You’re rooting for her, instead of against her and if you had told me I’d feel that way about her when I first started reading, I would have thought you were insane. I’ll be honest, I’m only about 60% done reading this book but the experience so far has been so incredible, I have to recommend it.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am.”

How could I call myself a feminist bookworm if I didn’t include The Bell Jar on a list of women authored recommendations? Sylvia Plath often gets over shadowed by her dramatic and untimely suicide but her writing really is extraordinary. This semi-autobiographical novel really does show a dark glimpse into a woman’s decent into depression. The character of Esther Greenwood is often described as a female Holden Caulfield and I really disagree. They might have some things in common but Esther is her own character and she’s vibrant and complicated in her own right. This is a sad one but it’s really at the top of it’s craft.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

If you’ve ever read the Hunger Games or watched Star Wars and loved it, you can thank Mary Shelley. At nineteen years old, Mary Shelley INVENTED science fiction with Frankenstein.  You probably think you know the story of Frankenstein, but you’re also probably wrong.  Is the real monster the man made of the bodies of corpses or the scientist who made him and abandoned him?

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”

This is a quiet coming of age novel about a second-generation Irish-American girl set in Brooklyn during the early 20th century. Francie is a sweet girl but impoverished and lonely and this book follows her awkward journey to womanhood. Despite the lack of high stakes drama and action, this book has stuck with me for over a decade. It’s the kind of book that is tender and affectionate and you’ll be sad when it’s over. Honestly, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and I think you’ll love it too.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


“You can be Han Solo,” he said, kissing her throat. “And I’ll be Boba Fett. I’ll cross the sky for you.”

This sweet YA romance is probably my favorite Rainbow Rowell books and thus probably one of my favorite books of all time! Eleanor is an overweight, redheaded new girl in town and Park is a half-Korean, comic book nerd but the bond their form transcends both their differences and their similarities. This book touches on both poverty and race with a deft hand while also grappling with some darker, more troubling topics.  It’s set in the 80’s so you get a lot of fun pop culture references to songs and comic books. Just writing about it right now makes me want to drop everything and go read it again. It’ll charm the pants off of you.

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

Did you really think I’d make a whole list and not include the masterpiece that is the Harry Potter series? This book series changed my life. I would not be the person I am today if it hadn’t been for these books. I owe JK Rowling basically everything. This series taught me about the importance of friendship and bravery and standing up for what one believes in. This series taught me to stand up to bullies and demagogues alike. This series taught me to see magic in the world and in myself. JK Rowling wrote the first book while on government assistance and by the time the series was done she was even wealthier than the Queen of England. She’s a remarkable woman and this is a remarkable series and I’d be a fool not to recommend, you know, in case one of you just got out of a twenty year coma and missed it.

Did I miss your favorites? Let me know in the comments.