$Texas, Me Myself and Ty, Music

#nashtag

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We ain’t mad, tho.

It was a hell of a trip — the kind that involves roadside assistance from a tire shop in a town you’ve never heard of.

But while we were in the City of Austin, nothing went wrong.

In fact, everything went right, starting with the free parking right by the venue.

I had been psyched about seeing Kate Nash perform since I heard about the show, but I had been psyched about the IDEA of seeing Kate Nash perform since 2008, so I was packed with nervous energy.

We grabbed some food from a food truck (It was Austin, after all) and then went into the Mohawk to watch the opening act and check out the scene.

It’s worth noting that Kate Nash and I had exchanged tweets in the weeks leading up to this concert. It’s a bit difficult for even me to take that sentence seriously, since just a few years ago I thought Twitter was utterly ridiculous, but suspend that cynicism for a moment and fanboy with me.

An icon of mine — who I have celebrated for years; whose music has led me to laugh, cry and (once) to write extensively long prose on Andy Griffith — was actively responding to me in 140 characters or less. Continue reading

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$Texas, Me Myself and Ty

An endorsement of Halloween dentist visits

No one likes to go to the dentist.

Some of us don’t mind it as much as we mind going to get a haircut (Exhibit A of this type of personality is atop my head) but after you graduate from high school and it’s no longer one of the few acceptable reasons to miss class, the trip to the dentist becomes even more horrible.

Gone are the days when you just feared the tools, the drills, the scrapey thing, the bad-tasting tooth polish and the bloody gums that come from not flossing as much as you should.

Now, at least for me, it’s more mental.

I walk in and know that I didn’t floss enough, so I know it’s going to hurt, but this I’m OK with. What I don’t like is having to explain to this adult why I suck at life so much that I can’t drag dental tape through my teeth once daily, even when plaque has bad breath, early onset gingivitis and cavity implications.

I just can’t explain it. It’s like a teacher whose class I take twice a year and each time they shake their head at me like they’re disappointed, but they pass me anyway, hoping that one of these days I’ll get it.

But that wasn’t it today. No, not even when I had to call my insurance to get them to verify that, yes, my parents’ insurance covers me until the end of the day Oct. 31, regardless of what the automated voice told the receptionist.

Continue reading

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$Texas, Me Myself and Ty, Uncategorized

Permanent markings

My parents came to visit me about a month ago for the first time since I moved to South Texas.

It means I'm grown up.

It means I’m grown up.

It had been nearly five months since they had seen me last — the longest I had ever been away from them thanks to the state university just up the road from my hometown.

There were many great memories made, but one sticks out somehow.

We were all in my apartment hanging out when a project my mom was working on required a permanent marker.

She asked if I had one and I said “Yes, ma’am,” dropped what I was doing and went into my bedroom.

I reached under my bed and pulled out the Sperry shoebox that became the depository for all of my writing utensils sometime during the move.

I knew I had a handful of highlighters, pens, pencils and at least half a dozen permanent markers.

I opened the box up and presented it to my mom, who selected a single permanent marker from it. I then closed it up and put it back beneath my bed.

About 15 minutes later my mom was done with the marker and her project, but what she said next baffled me.

Continue reading

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$Texas, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

Spoiler Alert Part 2

Missed Part One?

This part actually contains a bit of a spoiler for Battlestar Galactica, so for any readers who haven’t seen the show, I have the following message: Stop reading this blog post right now and go watch it. It’s on Netflix. Don’t worry, this post will still be here when you get back.

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Optional soundtrack to this post.

I had told myself I would watch an episode of Battlestar Galactica before interviewing him.

Photo Courtesy Paul Chouy

Photo Courtesy Paul Chouy

Or that I would watch Stand and Deliver, or something. Just as a fun addition. A way to make the moment that much more memorable when I shook his hand and interviewed him.

I got home that night and found Battlestar on Netflix.

Within the first episode, I was hooked. I watched the last of the human race, led by Olmos, flee from the Cylons while my digital clock counted down the hours until morning when I would ride to San Benito to interview him.

It was wild stuff.

I woke up the next morning and hurried as quickly as I could to the elementary school where he was due to speak to 5th-graders and found myself in the media center with my photographer and 30 kids, all watching scenes from Selena on YouTube.

It was obvious that a movie following a young Hispanic girl from childhood to stardom was a better way to connect with these 5th-graders than discussing a movie about advanced mathematics or a science fiction television series.

This one shot up on the screen and I found myself as entranced by it as the children.

And then (at the 1:01 mark of that video) he danced his way into the room.

Continue reading

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$Texas, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty, Uncategorized

Spoiler Alert Part 1

This two-part series chronicles the roughly 12 hours I spent chasing actor Edward James Olmos around South Texas for this story.

It was early May when I found out about the fundraiser and began putting together an advance story.

An actor, Edward James Olmos, was going to headline an annual event that raises money for the local Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children chapter.

My editor was freaking out about coverage, saying Olmos was one of his favorite actors.

Based on his reaction, I assumed there were dozens of movies starring Olmos that I had missed somehow.

I remembered watching Stand and Deliver in high school, but if I was being honest with myself, I couldn’t keep the plot completely separate from Dead Poets Society, another film about an inspirational teacher.

I shrugged it off as another actor that was before my time, but he and a colleague began discussing his work on Battlestar Galactica.

Those words, in my head, evoked half memories of cheesy sets and poor video quality akin to Knight Rider, only in a science-fiction setting. I remembered my dad attempting to explain the details of the wars between humans and Cylons, and something about a red eye, but everything else in the sci-fi compartment of my brain was filled with AT-ATs, Kessel runs and Kashyyyk history factoids.

But it turns out there was a second series. One that began in 2003. And Olmos was the star.

I wrote the advance, but assumed my editor would be covering the event. After all, I didn’t know Olmos from Robin Williams, so what warranted me being there?

He was busy the night of the fundraiser, though, so I headed to the event where Olmos’ speech was the keynote.

Continue reading

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$Texas, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

HIMEJO

The Edward v. Jacob debate.

Kids, did I ever tell you the story about how I told Edward James Olmos about the references to him in How I Met Your Mother?

It was May 2013 and I had just finished up an interview with the Golden Globe winner, when I asked him if he knew about the repeated references to him in one episode of HIMYM.

He kind of brushed it off, noting that Battlestar Galactica had once more pushed him into pop culture media, and even Will Shortz had taken notice.

“I knew we had come full circle when I ended up in a New York Times crossword puzzle,” he said.

I persisted, though, and explained to him how, in that one episode,  two characters (Ted and Barney) were arguing about whether his name was Edward or Jacob.

“Whether it was Edward Jacob or Edward James?” he asked.

This, to me, proved he hadn’t seen the episode and that I was the first to tell him about it.

I corrected him, explaining that they were debating Edward vs. Jacob in a way  akin to a discussion about Twilight werewolves versus vampires.

And then he, Paul and I all laughed together.

Want more Olmos? See my long-form blog feature on him here.

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$Texas, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

Lost en translation

“Your name doesn’t translate,” she said.

I knew it didn’t. I had asked Spanish-speaking friends about it back before I lived in South Texas.

Mark is Marcos. Paul is Pablo. Ty … Ty becomes just a variation of the pronunciation.

Either a long or short e sound takes the y’s place, leading to a “Tee” or a “Teh.” Hardly anything exciting.

But it wasn’t long before I realized that there are many ways that Ty doesn’t translate into Spanish. Continue reading

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$Texas, Me Myself and Ty

Pause.

(Optional soundtrack to this post.)
Take a moment to realize what this moment is.thismoment

I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like I spend a lot of my time looking forward to times of the year that are never the ones that I’m in at the moment. Continue reading

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$Texas, Me Myself and Ty

The Good Ole Days (Now in syndication)

Disclaimer: I don’t usually write about such nonsense here, but I can’t find the hockey game on TV and, ya know what, this is my fking blog and I can write whatever the fk I want on it.

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When I first watched The Office my sophomore year, I was surrounded by my best friends before they even became my best friends.

It was because of some combination of Sara or Conrad or Tim having the DVDs of seasons one and two and the mounting pressure from this thing called Facebook that I even first watched an episode, but it quickly became a marathon session of episode viewing among my friends and I, all gathered in a dark dorm room that was specially arranged to handle a crowd (one of my strengths in college was the ability to manipulate dorm rooms in such a way that allowed for maximum occupancy) and clapping along with the inane theme song.

OK, fine. I’m the one that started the clapping along to the theme song, but still, it was fun and if you try it once you’ll be hooked for life. Continue reading

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$Texas, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

Undercover in plain sight

It was the first of many instances where I realized that after living in a state where I looked like everyone else, I now lived in a place where I stood out.

I am the exotic one here.

The cashier at the grocery store asked for my number.

Women passing me on the beach complimented my “highlights.’

I get looks in every bar or club I enter because besides being a head taller than most everyone else there, that aforementioned head is one covered in long blonde hair.

I opened a checking account and, by the end of the process, the financial consultant told me to let him know if I wanted to hang out.

A self-described attention whore, of course I am eating the attention up, but I cannot help but wonder if it could possibly have an affect on my ability to do my job.

In government reporting, we observe and report.

I typically sit in the corners of meeting rooms — wherever I can hear the most and get noticed the least…How do I blend in and do my job when everyone is painfully aware that this monolingual guero is there?

I guess I will just have to be better.

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