Marching my way toward the Thanksgiving Parade

Thanksgiving comes around the same time every year. Twice  a year if you count Canadian Thanksgiving. I am fortunate enough to get to count both because my wonderful girlfriend is Canadian, and I am American. Every year my number one desire is to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It never seems to happen no matter how much I declare it as my goal. That changed this year for the first time.

Most years I don’t get to enjoy the parade because I am working some job counting the days until I walk out. Then there are the years I am with family members who dictate what is on TV. Rather than watch the parade they mostly opt to tune to some silly TV program with grown ass adults playing a children’s game. Eh who am I to judge? I love the parade because it has the cute balloons, the awesome dancing, the fabulous costumes and all the amazing performances.

This year I recorded the program on my DVR so I wouldn’t miss a beat. I was able to watch the first hour and  a half live as it happened. It provided me with a boost of cheer, good spirits and brought a smile to my heart. I love the hard work that goes into preparing these fantastic live performances.

I absolutely understand the thrill of being a live entertainer. I got my start the same as most American children, being on stage in front of all the neighborhood parents during school programs. In 6th grade I got to perform in a play with speaking lines for the first time. I was even able to contribute a joke or two to the script another kid got to tell. It was a blast.

That same year I was in marching band. I got to march in the Miltonale Kansas Tootle Fest. An annual festival in the small town I write about from time to time. It was the first parade I ever marched in. My next would be a Thanksgiving Day parade in Concordia, Kansas. That was a thrill ride the entire stretch. It was a cold winter day but it was still an blast the entire time. The last time I was able to be in the marching band was when our school band marched in the State Marching Band competition later that year. That was an adventure I will never forget. It was a long stretch of city street sandwiched between two agonizingly painful bus rides.

I continued my journey exploring public performing when I joined the concert band in middle school. I also turned to choir in high school. Between the two I was able to either bang the drums or sing songs from a stand in a number of occasions. In addition to this I began stepping outside school to put on some public performances of my own. It was around this time my friends and I started a hip-hop troupe. We began break dancing. I only performed publicly on a handful of instances but they were all extremely memorable. In each case my team or crew won the crowd’s cheers so I call that a victory.

Following high school I turned to expanding and promoting my techno and hip hop cache.  I was working to start up an independent underground recording studio in order to release my music to the world in a semi professional sorta official manner. During that time I booked one concert at the rec center which I put on in front of the entire town. It was lame but I had to do it.

I continued my love of live entertainment on into college. My first published article in a newspaper was the story I did on the Loper’s Marching Band. You can find the PDF of that article HERE.

There s nothing more exciting than going on stage in front of an audience and putting on a live performance you’ve spent hours, weeks even months perfecting. One of the reasons I love watching live shows so much is simply because my appreciation of what goes into them behind the scenes. There’s so much hard work to bring even a single dance number to stage.

When I went into college I declared my major Broadcasting with my minor in Theater. I wish I had stuck with it but due to complications I can’t divulge here yet I backed out went into a panic then flushed my entire college education down the toilet.

I went into theater and broadcasting because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go into Hollywood, TV, theater, movies or news. I thought I would get a well rounded education that I could translate into a career in the business. While I have largely been successful staying within my field for the most part I can say honestly I have aspirations to try once again to keep pushing forward.

If you think my live performances have ceased you are sorely mistaken. Every podcast I record, every YouTube video I release, every Facebook Live I stream, those are all performances. While I am mostly authentic in my showings I haven’t always shed that performance face. I never will either. I love live entertainment. I love having been blessed with the few opportunities to perform in public I have had. I am fortunate to have been a news reporter given the chance to view, cover, photograph and report on several amazing live events over the years. I am happy to settle, for now, into a small Podcast/YouTube channel dedicated to providing trans content for an audience starved for representation.

I could write about how much I love the parade as a live TV event, but I already wrote about my love of live TV here. Instead I chose to focus on my love of live entertainment. As a shoutout to wrap this up I would like to link to the Facebook page of a live performer I have seen in person multiple times. A wonderful lady with a beautiful voice and a great big heart that comes through in her songs. Find her here.

I am very happy I got to watch the parade this year. I hope I can pull it off again. Maybe someday I can pull it together and find a way to be there performing again? I can dream can’t I! In the meantime stay cool.

The bluntness of being impolite in a polite society, or why being rude is confusing

Do you bless someone if the sneeze? Have  you ever wondered why we do it? I have. My obsessive need to understand the structure of how things work is precisely why I cannot fathom pleasantries. Being polite is not something that sticks in my brain so I question it. Rather than offering an explanation to how the process works, most adults prefer the rather useless approach of “that’s just the way it is” learning process. This doesn’t work for me.

When I was in 3rd grade I was given a piece of chalk and asked to do a math problem on the board in front of the class. I walked up there, scribbled something on the board that prompted the other kids to burst into laughter. Assuming I was making a joke the teacher sent me to the principal’s office. This led to a series of inquiries that revealed I was not on the same level as my peers in regards to understanding how math functioned. My inability to get past my need to understand things prevented me from being able to learn. Math is taught by instruction via example. They don’t provide a break down of how the numbers do what the teacher tells you they do, they just force you to memorize times tables, formulas and acronyms that are supposed to remind you the tricks they want you to follow. It’s almost like they don’t understand how math works either they just expect you to know it does and leave it at that.

This is not true for other subjects. Science provides a method of discovery. They follow rigid steps that require consistency. English has rules of grammar. Most English instruction is taught we repeat words and we pick up their meaning by inference. Once a teacher explained the functions of the different types of words, punctuation marks and syntax it clicked. History is just memorizing facts you don’t have to know why Abe Lincoln was shot you just have to learn when and where.

As confoundingly confudling math is there is one aspect to our society that boggles my mind even more. I struggle grasping what is considered polite, impolite and rude. In my mind I don’t really perceive a difference. “Do we have any soda?” is the same as “May I please have a can of soda?” to “grab me a soda.” I understand there are subtle differences in the way humans perceive those three requests yet the syntax, the grammar, the underlying request, remains the same. You have access to soda. I want access to soda. Provide me access to said soda. The whole messy bit regarding what is polite or not passes me by entirely.

I am quite often blunt. The reason for that is I am direct. It takes less energy in my brain to cut to the chase than it does to navigate the labyrinth of social pleasantries that lends one to exchanging favors. It’s not a concept I fathom easily. My mom would always snap at me saying “that was rude!” whenever I would ask for clarity she’d retort “you know what I meant” and there we were. My being unable to correct my behavior as nobody would explain it to me, her angry at me for being “smart” when I was in fact not.

This often left me bewildered. Yes my mom taught me to say please and thank you but not everyone in our family employed this tactic nor were the consistent on doing so. This led me to question the entire institution. If it was mandatory to utter such a nonsense phrase just because someone was told to expect it then what cause was there to those times when the phrase was not used yet the results were the same? I never could reconcile this. It is the same as why when I call a friend on the phone I don’t start with hi friend how was your day, how are you, how is the weather, is your dog pooping okay, are the kids doing well in school, etc., before asking my question. I get a friend on the phone I begin with Hi how are you? Good well here’s my problem can you help? I prefer direct language. It makes sense to me.

It may have been brought to your attention during the course of reading this article I am quite capable of articulating complex sentences within the inherently convoluted grammatical structure of Modern American English. Yet you probably noticed I write more fluidly when I get to the damn point. I prefer taking the shortest route to where I am going. With the excessive amount of clutter inside my brain I like cutting through the noise. It helps me push the thoughts I don’t need out of the way to allow the ones I am trying to get to find their way to the surface.

I broke into tears recently when I realized I never learned these things. I felt stupid. I always recall the movie Ghostbusters. The part where EPA lawyers Walter Peck asks Dr. Peter Venkman if he can see the Ghostbusters storage facility. When he is denied access the bureaucrat asks why to which Dr. Vankmen retorts “because you didn’t say the magic word.” This exchange always confused me. I thought it was a joke. Thus I concluded in my own mind that saying please and thank you made no sense to me. I spent my entire life not capable of saying those words.

On a different note this is sort of why it was so hard for me to get to where I could say I love you to other people. Until I understood what love actually was I had no use for those words. It took me a while to grasp what was to me an abstract concept. I saw examples of love but never fully understood it. It wasn’t until my adopted sister showed me what real love, what real family looks like before it sunk in.

I never learned the difference between being polite, rude or blunt. I am trying to pick up the pieces today and put them together in my mind. Part of me has come to the realization the lie I was living, the mask I wore, afforded me the benefit of being rude on the grounds I was a jerk and boys are allowed to be such. Girls are expected to be more polite thus in an effort to be more feminine I have taken the time to better understand what polite looks like.

I have a long ways to go. I still come across as rude by most accounts to nearly anyone who interacts with me on a regular basis. You may have noticed in conversations I apologize a lot. Much of that stems from my not knowing when I am being rude. In situations where I am unsure I take the safest approach and assume I was rude then apologizing for it. As time goes on I hope that I can become a better person. One of the goals I have towards that end is identifying all of my behaviors that can be considered rude, trying to better understand why they are such then seek ways to improve. It’s all I can do.

The grandpa I never had, but did I really miss out on anything?

I was blessed with a typical broken American family. Not necessarily broken due to divorce, although that reared it’s head from time to time, more like broken from the reality we live in. I call it a blessing because I have bee fortunate in missing out on a lot of the things some in our society would consider normal. Because of divorce, adoption and family abandonment I was blessed with having four adult men in my life with whom I could identify as grandpa. Yet I never got to know any of them.

Let me start with Grandpa Owen. He died when I was very young. Probably too young to accurately remember if you want me to be honest. What I do remember is fairly superficial to some, meaningful to someone like me though. I was attending a mid-week youth function at a local church. During the course of the evening one of the girls in the classroom left in tears. She found out her grandpa had passed away. This drove me to tears. Not because I knew the girl or her loved one but because I didn’t know my own grandpa.

I went home from church in tears. Knowing full well how my brain worked my parents didn’t try to comfort me in the traditional way you’d expect. Not with a meaningful talk or some hugs. Oh sure I got hugs and whatnot but they turned the a proven therapy method that seemed to always work. We sat down as a family and spent the evening playing video games. I specifically remember it was a night of fun games to distract me from that weird funk I was in. I can picture the games crystal clear. We played Combat, Joust, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Pole Position and Haunted House for the Atari 2600. 

My grandpa wasn’t a part of my dad’s life. He gave him up for adoption when my dad was eight years old. I never got to know him as he passed when I was very young. The only other memory of have associated with this man was the Super Gobot Baron Von Joy my dad gave me when he returned home from the exotic land of California following his dad’s funeral. Those are the only two memories I have about that grandpa. 

Grandpa Todd died before I was born. I can’t even write a full paragraph on what he meant to me. I never asked my grandma how he died. I never bother nor cared enough to ask my parents. I knew he died before I was born and that was it. Nothing else to say. 

Grandpa Jim was the closest I ever had to having a real grandpa. I met him when I was 14 years old. Not the best role model for a kid but he wasn’t the worst grandparent you could get. He didn’t take me to the park. He never bought me Christmas or birthday presents. He didn’t even live long enough to see me become his granddaughter. Instead he was a truck driver that came and went. Since I only lived at my grandma Frankie’s for a couple of months I hardly spent any time with Grandpa Jim. 

I remember a health scare following a heart attack he had when I was 16. I walked down to the only pay phone in town to give him a call in the hospital. We talked briefly then I spent my remaining time on a collect call to my pastor. He tried to provide me comfort, we prayed and after many tears Grandpa Jim got better and went home. I never saw him again. That was 1999. He died last year at the start of the Pandemic. I saw him no more than a grand total of two moths in my life consecutively. I cried when he died. I felt I missed out on an opportunity to get to know someone I have since learned was a pretty good man. I was angry when he died because I didn’t get to know him better. I was sad when he died because I wanted to be close to him. I mourned his loss. I sort of knew him, barely. 

Then there is the man who passed away this weekend. His name was Grandpa Ken. Although that is not what I called him. To us he was just Ken. My sisters and I never afforded him the respect of the title grandpa. He never seemed to care. He didn’t exactly claim us as his grandkids anyways. 

I can’t dig into the pain this man caused my family. I can say he meant nothing to me in life. In death he is nothing more to me than a reminder I was robbed of the experience many children have of having a meaningful relationship with their grandpa. 

I barely knew my grandmothers. All but one of them have passed. I make it a point to call my Grandma Frankie every week. If I got too long she will call me to make sure I didn’t forget about her. I will mourn the loss of her life. I have nothing else to say about her ex-husband who left a black spot on my family. 

The other part of his death on my mind is selfish in some respects. I find myself not concerned with the division of his estate. I doubt I will get anything meaningful from that. I am find myself more curious how I will be represented in his obituary. Not that it matters. Someone I love and respect very much said that is inconsequential all things considered. While that is largely true it is pressing on my mind. Again not that it will matter nor do I care how it comes out just that it is a reminder that when I die my family will most likely shrug it off as “meh” and move on.

That’s what I feel right now. Selfishly upset I will be misgendered and misnamed in a newspaper article I will never even read. Superficially upset that when I pass my family is likely to be dismissive of my life. Therein lies the anger. I am angry I never got to have a proper relationship with a grandpa. I am angry I might never get to live out my days as an integral part of the family I was born into. That is why I am angry right now. Life decided to bless this piece of shit while it decided I was better served as a doormat. 

I had fun watching Ghostbusters Afterlife last night no spoilers

Last night I went to the movies to see Ghostbusters Afterlife. It was the first time I had gone to the theater since before the pandemic began. I wanted it to be a treat, a night out on the town. This is my recall of the evenings events.

I try to mark special occasions in my mind. It helps me keep track of the good days from the monotonous ones. I wanted to make it a memorable event as the movie was something I have been anticipating seeing for a very long time.

It started with the preparations. I wanted to dress up for a night out. I spent some time during my discord call with my loving girlfriend applying makeup with my limited resources. I settled on an outfit then proceeded to do my hair. Once I was fully dressed I said goodnight to my partner and hit the road.

My first leg of the night outside the house had me facing the typical traffic one would expect in the Dallas suburn of Plano. By the time my Google Assistant and I reconciled our differences I arrived safely on time at my destination.

As this was my first time attending a theater since the start of the pandemic I was in for a surprise. The first shock was how contactlessness affected everything. Tickets had to be purchased in advance as the box office itself was closed. Instead of standing in the usual packed line for concessions where an underpaid teenager scrambles to fulfill my order, I was presented with a buffet style self serve popcorn station with other snacks around. I paid for my extra large popcorn then made my way towards the auditorium.

The first thing I noticed was the size of the room. This was a Cinemark XD theater and it was huge. Not Imax huge but much larger than the screens I was used to viewing in Sherman, Texas. After a brief sting of confusions as I searched unsuccessfully for my assigned seat the only other adult in the theater realized the crisis I was having and showed me how to find the aisle label. Once I found my way to my seat I got comfortable.

These are reclining seats which I have experienced before but I was slightly disappointed they didn’t recline nearly as much as I would  have liked. This was made up for by the fact it included a small table with cup holder for my snacks. As I hard ordered the extra large popcorn I was grateful for the table.

By the time the auditorium filled clear full of people the pre-film entertainment had begun. It was mostly the sort of cringy affair you’d expect from today’s movies nothing out of the ordinary save for one particularly disturbing advertisement where Matt Damon was shilling Crypto currency. I am sure I rolled my eyes loud enough Damon heard the vain in my eye pop. Ugh. Once that was over the only noteworthy trailer was the latest for Spider-Man No Way Home.

Once the trailers had ran their course it was time for the feature presentation to begin. Before the movie could start I was taken out of the zone and plopped right back into reality. While movies in the 80’s certainly had title cards promoting the production company they weren’t anything like the badly photoshopped fair we endure endlessly today. Seeing the title cards of a production company completely different from those I have seen in front of the original Ghostbusters over and over was slightly jarring.

This is where my brain remained throughout the course of the film. I ran two competing trains of thought each attempting to assert dominance over my consciousness. The first was pure bliss. This was two fold as the familiarity of nostalgia mixed with the rush of adrenaline from watching a modern sci-fi horror blockbuster tickled my sense.

The second school of thought was a bit more sinister in nature. I was reminded how much distance there was between the 1980s and today. The movie reminded me this in two ways as well. The first was the constant throwbacks to the original. It was a score of bits and pieces sprinkled in as fan service meant to satiate the appetite of the nerds who were upset over the previous attempt to revive the franchise.

In addition to that was the part  being taken out of the past. Seeing the time-locked world of the 80’s classic being tainted by bringing those characters into our post-modern near apocalyptic world pierce my heart with reality.

One of the reasons I revisit the classic so much is it is a time stamp of a specific point in my childhood. I can return to that youth nearly four decades gone now anytime I want. Bringing the characters of that film out of their magical 80’s time warp thrusting them into a post-Trump world felt very surreal, almost sacrilegious in a way.

The film itself was quite enjoyable once it began. There were plenty of cameos to keep the fans happy along with little touches that not only connect to the original movie itself but the era in which it was made. The plot point of how an entire generation of kids could grow up in the same world the great ghost take over of New York took place while also not believing in ghosts is a stark reminder of the reality denying conspiracy laden world we live in today.

The film walks a fine  balance between sci-fi horror and comedy nearly as perfectly as the original, with an obviously modern twist. It doesn’t take itself too serious when it needs to be self aware but it can get down to business when it needs to be taken seriously.

The threat facing the world in this movie is considerably darker than the previous end-of-the world threat they heroes faced in yonder past.The Disney-esque subplot revolving around an estranged daughter trying to get over the sins of her father while raising her own kids is woven into the narrative of a pre-teen girl’s self discovery, a coming-of-age b-line thrown in for good measure, then a ton of deeper mythology building on top of the previous movies cannon. This puts the movie in a unique position as the least like a pure summer Blockbuster and more like a well-rounded modern Disney flick. The Post-MCU influence is quite strong in this movie.

There are spoilers I can’t discuss in this article. The movie itself works tremendously well where it works at all. It’s deficiencies lie more in the reality we face today than in the utopia of the nostalgic past. The movie experience itself was fantastic. The film was superb and the fans will surely be impressed with what they find here. If I were to give it a preliminary rating I can give it an enthusiastic thumbs up. It recaptures the spirit of the original while bringing the world that film created into the modern world in a way that respects the original with homages and updated references.

I intend to do a full in-depth review on the podcast this weekend which will include spoilers. Those wishing to learn what I truly thought of the entire movie be sure to look for that bonus episode shortly. In the mean time charge up your proton packs, dust off  you ghost traps, put some gas in your Ecto car and let Ray Parker Jr. sing “busting makes me feel good” in your head on a loop.

Why going to the movies is a treat for me

Going to the movies has always been a thrilling adventure for me. I grew up in a fairly low-income home. We didn’t go to the movie often. In fact I can actually make a list of all the films I saw in theaters as a kid. Spoiler alert, it’s not a very big list. It was a combination of being poor thus not having the money to splurge all that often to savoring events as special occasions. I haven’t been to the theater since 2019. I can’t even remember what movie it was I saw last to be honest. Probably the last Star Wars or whichever MCU flick released that Christmas.

I am going to the movies tonight to see the latest Ghostbusters film, Afterlife. I am hotly anticipating this movie that has been calling to my inner child.

Here is a breakdown of all the films I saw in my youth.

1. Ghostbusters 2

A pretty good first flick for a young tyke to behold. This movie was the very first flick I saw on the big screen. While I had previously seen the first film on VHS multiple times, it was an absolute joy to get to experience this at the box office.

2. Home Alone.

Believe it or not only the second film I got to see in theaters. This was a movie I was anticipating so much. It was a Christmas comedy that instantly became a classic. I watched it so any times as a kid I can’t even count. Getting to see it in theaters was a real treat.

3. Lethal Weapon 3

It was a little strange as a younun my parents opted to bring my sisters along with them to watch an R-rated cop movie for my moms birthday but there we were. This was pre-Christian for my parents so they didn’t even flinch taking their kids to an r-rated movie filled with F-bombs and drug references. What I do remember from this film was how boring and forgetable it was for my young mind. Even to this day it’s the one in the franchise I cannot summon images of for the life of me.

4. Dick Tracy

This was a movie a friend of mine dragged me to when I would have rather seen literally anything else. Going into the film I was excited simply because my dad hyped me up. The Dick Tracy references in Bug Bunny cartoons kinda helped me get excited for it. I even stopped at the gift shop along the way ad bought a pack of Dick Tracy trading cards. Then I came out of the movie wishing I could scrub it from my memory. Fortunately I succeeded.

5. The Rocketeer

I will be brief. I hated this movie. I had to see it at the $1 theater because it was all we could afford. I watched it, I forgo it and moved on.

6. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

This is one I watched because I loved the book. It was at a time in my life when I was still very much into dogs and cats. I loved how the puppy was voiced by childhood favorite Michael J. Fox. It was a rare film I was excited to watch on the big screen simply because I had read the book first. While I could hear the voices in my head while reading the book it just wasn’t the same.

7. Jurassic Park

One of the rare times I got to see a legit blockbuster was JP. I distinctly remember sitting in the theater by my self as my oldest sister who took me snuck off with some boy. I was glued to the screen the entire time this movie played out. Like Homeward Bound I read the book before going in. I was in 4th grade so that itself was a daunting task but I had to do it.

8. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

I won’t say it was better than the original but I will say I enjoyed it equally as much when it was new. Over the years my fondness for the first has grown while this one has taken a backseat but I still remember sitting in the theater with glee I was going to get to see this movie.

9. The Odd Couple II

I have no idea why I went to this other than my sisters were in the next auditorium watching Titanic and my parents dragged me to this. While I love the classic original to this day I didn’t care for this weird, out of place sequel.

10. Batman Returns

The first Batman movie I saw in theaters. One of only three to this day to be honest. It was an absolute thrill ride. Batman went from a character I found boring t leaping to the top of my favorite superheroes of all time list where he sits firmly towering above the rest to this day. This was the first movie I ever got the entire toyline of action figures of. I also had the novel, the story book and trading cards. I was really into this movie. So much I got the game on Super Nintendo first chance I could. I even remember going into the theater with the Happy Meal toys my sister and I got from McDonald’s prior to watching the film.

11. Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope Special Edition

My dad was excited to take me to this movie as much as I was excited to see it. Again here we were watching a movie on the big screen I had read the book many times over. Unlike those others this was a movie I was watching not for the first time entirely but was my first time on the big screen. I remember the audience clapping, everyone wearing costumes and my dad even buying me action figures from the display out front when we came out of the movie.

12. Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition

I dragged my sister Candy to this despite her insistence she hated Star Wars. The thing I remember the most about this viewing is the audio dropped out during the Imperial March. Also it was the last of the Special Edition films I was able to see in theaters. The reason for that was we were moving during the summer when Return of the Jedi Special Edition was playing so I missed out on that.

13. Super Mario Bros.

At the time this movie came out I was super excited for it. I hadn’t played the SNES game yet, we still just had the original NES with Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt. I had rented the sequel games a couple of times but still going into this my exposure to the character was the first three NES games and the cartoons. I had no idea what to expect but I remember leaving the theater both disappointed while also excited I got to see it.

14. Bill N Ted’s Bogus Journey

I had been a fan of the first one. My sisters thought you-know-how was cute. It was a rare movie we could all agree on.

15. Disney’s Aladdin

To this day the only animated Disney feature film I have seen in theaters. It was a pretty exciting film for me. I had the toys. I read the story book. It was also the very first movie my parents bought me on VHS tape that was just mine. I got it the same birthday as TMNT the movie on VHS.

16. X-Men

This was the last movie I saw in what I count as my childhood. I would turn 18 months after I watched it. This was by far the movie I anticipated the most in those days. I had plenty of X-Men comics, toys and other memorabilia. I even had the trading cards to accompany the release of the film. And yes I also read every single magazine I could that ran articles on it pre-release. I was obsessed with this.

17. Batman & Robin

Obviously I am not listing these in release order. But this was one of the last ones I wanted to mention because this was the movie that almost destroyed my faith in Batman the character. For some unknown reason this one was my dad’s favorite one while for me it was atrocious. Looking back on it I can recognize what the filmmakers were going for allowing me to appreciate it in a new light while recognizing it is still a terrible film.

18. Star Wars Episode One The Phantom Menace

I didn’t watch a tremendously large number of movies in the theater in my lifetime. As a kid we were limited mostly to a couple movies per year. Even to this day I rarely watch more than two or three in a given year unless someone else is buying my ticket.

That being said none of the movies from my childhood had the impact on me this movie did. To say I was obsessed would be an understatement. Naturally I read the book. I had the trading cards, toys, comics, etc. I went out of my way to absorb every TV reference to this movie. I recorded the Weird Al music video “The Saga Begins” on VHS from VH1. I love this movie to this day. It remains one of the best movie experiences I ever had as a kid.

19. Austin Powers in Gold Member

Yeah I at through this rubbish at a drive in theater because my idiot guy friends thought it was funny. Ugh I have nothing else to say.

There it is, every single film I saw before I turned 18 years old. Going to the movies was a rare treat for us not a regular occurrence.

My biggest regret in life still eats me alive to this day

I have been told by many people whom I love that I over share. I have also been told by loved ones I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I suppose both are true. Believe me even as much as I do share I keep plenty to myself. I have secrets that will never get out there. I have regrets I will take with me to the grave. You can bet your bottom dollar I have skeletons in my closet. This is one I have to come to terms with. This is a confession I have to get off my chest. 

It starts with political brainwashing. Before I get into that let me get the confession out of the way. I am a transgender biromantic asexual queer pagan witch. I am a loving partner to a wonderfully sensitive transwoman who has her own identity. I am a journalist, blogger and political activist. I try to fight for LGBT rights whenever I can. Largely via supporting others in the fight. Yet I have a big black spot on my record I cannot hide from. I voted for Donald J. Trump to be President of the United States of America. Both times. Let me explain before you cut me out of your life entirely.

First, I am deeply sorry. I regretted it tremendously both times yet I felt the heavy hand of my Christian right wing brainwashing. Keep in mind although I am fully out now, fully exposed and fully living my authentic life, in November 2020 I was not. At that time I was still living on property owned by my redneck right wing ultra conservative racist anti vax, flat-earther evangelical Christian former family. To say I was in stealth mode would be putting it lightly. I was one of them. Not racist, not science denying, not ultra conservative, but I was at my core a capitalist. I put economy over people despite the sinking feeling in my gut. Why? What motivated me to vote against my own self interests knowing full good and well it was going to hurt good people I loved tremendously? It goes back to that brainwashing. But it was also self loathing. I wasn’t just suicidal because I was trans and in hiding. I wanted to die because I loathed what I was. I hated being trans because being Christian and trans caused me agony. I hated how if I crossed the line into being out I not only faced exile from my family, which did occur by the way, I also was facing an internal political crisis I wasn’t ready to face. 

I don’t want to get too deep into the brainwashing itself. It was thorough let me assure you. I tried to take my life many times because I just wanted to be “normal.” I prayed, tears in my eyes begging Jesus for forgiveness as I tossed my girl clothes in the trash. I felt disgust every time I sat in my house wearing panties, a dress and listening to Madonna. I was the right wing self loathing disgusting pile of human garbage you expect someone raised in that world to become. I was a coward. I was weak. I have no excuse. I wasn’t willing to stand up to my family, my church, my God or myself. I lived in fear of the hatred the right would direct my way if I stepped out of line. I lived in fear of the ostracizing I’d face from my LGBT family if they found out. I also lived in fear of losing the woman I love if she found out I voted for the monster who she partially blames for her fathers death. I regret all of it. 

I deeply regret my actions. I already had a one-on-one confession to my beloved Christina. She found it in her heat to forgive me for my role I played in the state our world is in. I have to come to terms with the consequences of a life-time of regret and hatred that fueled me for so long. I am apologizing for my actions from the bottom of my heart. I know confessing this will lose me followers, trust and friends. I know it will brand me as untrustworthy by some people I love and respect more than life itself. I can’t even balance it out with the truth I did vote for Obama when I had the chance. It doesn’t matter. Real people were hurt by former President Trump. I regretted it the moment I left the voting booth in 2016. I don’t have a good excuse. I blame it on brainwashing I am still fighting to be completely freed from even now.

I am facing a lonely life moving forward. I have already lost my right-wing friends and family. I fear losing my friends and family on the left will leave me more isolated than I have ever been in this life. I hated Trump with a fiery passion yet I put his name on a ballot that contributed to his power. I deeply regret the first time I voted for him. I did that in a state of confusion. The second time it was so much worse.

I went into that voting booth fully expecting to check Biden’s name. I supported Biden. I hated Trump and what the Trumpers were doing to the world. I HATED my friends and family who supported him and the vile things they wanted him to do. I hated myself for checking his name even more than all that other hate combined. Then why did I do it? Simple. Denial. In November last year I was facing a real crisis. I was still male presenting to my family. I was still two months away from my legal name change. I had just barely gotten my ears pierced days earlier. I was seriously contemplating going back into deep hiding because I was afraid to lose my comfortable life.

Beyond the brainwashing I was also facing comfort. I was hiding behind my white privilege while I was secretly disgusted at myself. I was a television producer for a highly rated local newscast. I was well paid for the work I did. I owned my own home. I had my own land. I had a garden. I had trees. I was in the process of building a fence to buy a goat. And I had money. I was spending $200 a week on toys, DVD’s and video games. I was paying $130 a month for steaming services. And I was still hosting a podcast that had over 20,000 listeners. I was not ready to give all that up, move to a tiny apartment in the city living in poverty as I came to terms with my family shutting me out of their lives. I left the voting booth, drove to my sisters house, put my niece Ayvah on my lap and hugged her the last time I would ever see her. I went home and cried my eyes out. The next day I called my sister told her I was on HRT and that was it. That comfortable life was over in a flash. I made atonement for my sins but it isn’t enough. I walked away from a very comfortable life. I was a middle class home owner who was well respected in my local community. I regularly had lunches with businessmen. I shared a steak dinner with the CEO of a local oil company. I lived a pretty damn good life. Of course I supported having the man in office that would protect that lifestyle. I was afraid to give it up. 

I can’t emphasize how good I had it. That doesn’t excuse what I did. I can try to hide behind brainwashing, believe me those suicide attempts were very revealing to my mental state. It doesn’t matter that I walked away. I gave it all up to be an underemployed trans woman living in the city alone. I gave up my family. I gave up my home. I gave up my rocking life. I gave up my career I worked hard to achieve. Despite everything I gave up none of it washes away the guilt, the regret, the despair I feel internally knowing I gave that monster my seal of approval despite knowing better.

I hate myself. I hate the person I was. I hate the things I did and said while in the closet. I hate that I had such a privileged life while others suffered in the first place. I hate that even though I grew up in poverty I turned my back on the poor to chase the riches I never had as a child. I hate that I endorsed a monster who destroyed so many lives, including those of people I love more than life itself.

If you wanted to know why my depression is incurable there it is. I can live with knowing I was a right wing Christian for so long. I can live with the fact I lived in denial of my white privilege. I can even forgive myself for the skeletons from my past I won’t share here. But I will never forgive myself for checking the name Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America. I can only say one more time I am sorry. I can only beg for forgiveness. I can only assure you I lose sleep over it every single day. I let it eat at me. I let it tear me apart inside. I will never feel the comfort I had, the safety I had back then ever again. I will live out the rest of my life a trans queer woman living on the fringe of society. I gave up my privilege, status and family. That is not enough. I will never forgive myself for what I did. I ask others to forgive me only because I hold out hope they are better people than I was. 

Why I am struggling with the Transformer Rattrap

It’s not really that big of a deal right? It’s just a toy right? Why does this particular toy cause me anxiety? 

Earlier this summer I bought a Transformers War for Cybertron Kingdom action figure of Beast Wars character Rattrap. I bought him because of a couple reasons. First was nostalgia. I rooted for that character the most when I watched the old Beast Wars cartoon. It was the character I felt the closest to for obvious reasons. This pull towards nostalgia overpowered my better judgement leading me to buy the toy despite knowing it would cause me agony doing so. 

The second reason I picked it up was impulse. It was a budget priced action figure for the toyline. I had the right amount of money on hand the day I came across it. I typically buy Transformers on impulse not to own them all but to bulk up my already massive collection. It was an easy purchase at the budget price too. 

The toy itself is decent enough. In fact it’s a pretty good Rattrap figure to be honest. It resembles the version of the character I remember from the Beast Wars cartoon. It looks like a rat in beast mode, it looks like a formidable Maximal in robot mode. It comes with a single gun that attaches to it’s hip in rat mode or can be held in its hands in robot mode. It’s a pretty good quality toy for the price. Nothing to complain about so far.

Obviously as a transgender woman my issue lies in the part of my own past I try to ignore. It’s a part of me that keeps coming back as much as it causes me pain. My deadname was a cause for anxiety for a number of reasons. For starters there is the confusing part here I literally had three names that work as all three names. My first name could work as a first, middle or last name. Same for my middle name and yes my last name too. It was incredibly frustrating even when I had to wear the moniker because nobody ever got it right. 

In the interest of clarity for my audience, not to be abused by trolls, I share my deadname. My three names were Allen. Richard. Todd. Not in that order but you can see how you can arrange them in any order and they still work. I knew a Todd Allen growing up. I met an Allen Richard, a Todd Richards and an Allen Richardson once. It was a nightmare. I hated it tremendously. 

Okay Stephanie what does that have to do with Rattrap. Okay I am showing my hand here again on the trust you will show me respect. The other cause of anxiety surrounding my deadname was rooted in the very fact my initials spelled out the word rat. I was known as a rat my whole like. Or the rat. Or THE RAT, or La rata by my Spanish speaking friends. I grew to detest that moniker so much. Yet despite my hatred for the name I rather ironically embraced it. I used THE RAT in all my marketing. I called myself animecyberrat in certain internet circles. When I released music under my underground hip hop record label Mean Green Records in Salina, Kansas, I went by the name THE RAT. I used to tell people I was *THE* RAT, the one and only.

Today anything I can associate with my vomit inducing deadname causes me to feel sick. I detest it. I loathe it. I become belligerently angry towards anyone who intentionally refers to me as such. Yet because I was a journalist who wrote over 2500 articles under my deadname, precisely because I had to maintain consistency in branding, I have to share my disgusting deadname with potential employers on a daily basis. I have to log into HIS account on the journalism profile sight I use to keep track of the stories I wrote over the years. I have to share HIS LinkdedIN profile to get job interviews. I have to constantly tell people that was my OLD name and how it is not the name of my boyfriend, spouse or brother. It is incredibly frustrating. 

SO what does this have to do with the Transformer Rattrap? Did you parse out why I gravitated to this character in the first place? I embraced anything related to rats. I did this because it was a part of my identity. This is where The Spiders lair came from. Rats, like spiders, are basement dwellers. It was a theme.

The reason I get anxiety from owning this toy is it is a reminder of a part of my life I want to scrub from my memory. However I also get joy, pleasure out of owning a toy of one of the characters I identified with fondly in my youth. Thus the anxiety. I detest the name, it reminds me of my past but I also like the figure, and the character it represents. I don’t know how to reconcile this other than keeping the toy on my toyshelf with the rest of the Transformers in the hopes it will blend in. If I could wipe THE RAT from my brain while continuing to enjoy Rattrap as a toy I could find peace. Until that time I am stuck here facing a dilemma I cannot solve.  

So who the hell am I anyways?

I have been going through a bit of a crisis lately. A large part of that is related to my identity. I have been making so many changes in my life that my brain can’t seem to answer the question, who am I? So I decided today was a good time to sit down and answer some of the questions with the information I can lock down. I figured if I did this at the very least it might settle some of my anxiety of so much change. 

Here is a list of attributes that define who I am.

1. Transwoman

This one is obvious. I felt my gender didn’t match my body as young as 7 years old, maybe even younger. I have been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria. I am being treated with Hormone Replacement Therapy as well as socially transitioning into a woman presenting person.

2. American

I was born in the United States of America. Specifically the city of Twin Falls, Idaho. It was also the county seat of Twin Falls County. This is a big part of my identity. While my politics have evolved over the years I still very much hold being American as a part of who I am.

3. Sibling

To some I was a brother, to others I am a sister. I have always been a sibling from the day I was born. I was the second born child in my dads family and my moms first born child. As such I was a sibling the moment I was born. This does include some responsibilities as well as burdens I have faced over the years. While it comes with a lot of baggage I am still grateful for all four of my sisters. 

4. Toy collector

I put this here because it’s true. I go out of my way to collect toys. Mostly action figures but not exclusively. I have hundreds of Hot Wheels, dozens of Care Bears, tons of Barbie, a lot of Lego’s and a few random toys as well. 

5. Gamer

I don’t game as much as I used to in some respects meaning the variety of games I play has diminished. However the amount of time I spend playing video games make it still the dominant past time of mine. I mostly spend hours on end playing Minecraft but I do still mix it up with plenty of other games when I find the time. Believe me I do find the time. I don’t get into petty squabbles of this type of gamer or that type of gamer, I identify as a gamer because I always have been fascinated by video games and video game culture. 

6. Pagan

This is relatively new. I took this as the religious form of my beliefs mainly as a way to tell people I am a witch without the stigma of doing magic. It is also something that has appealed to me my entire life.

7. Christian

Specifically I am confirmed Catholic, baptized Independent Fundamental Baptist as well as baptized independent independent Christian. That being said while I no longer practice this religion in the traditional sense, Jesus is still my primary deity in my practice. I am leaning more towards a Christian spiritualist who practices some forms of spells but I am no longer denying I am a baptized Christian who does follow some tenants of the Christian faith.

8. writer

This goes without saying. I am a writer. Not because I have been employed as a writer in the past. While that gave me a sense of pride at the time I was always a writer simply because I write words. I write in my journal nobody will ever read. I write spells in my Book of Shadows. I write articles on my blog. I occasionally write freelance for other publications. I write a lot therefore I am a writer.

9. Photographer

I waffled on this one. I do photograph things on a daily basis. I mostly share my pictures though social media but I also have a folder of photos I take on my DSLR camera I don’t share publicly. I have had a hard time considering myself a photographer because writer is a larger part of my life I often neglect, or forget about, my photography.

10. Video producer

I don’t just make podcasts and YouTube videos. While it is true I do vlog from time to time, I have also produced several short form videos over the years. This has included a professionally commissioned music video for a former WWE Super Star by the name of Sam Houston. It has also included two independent short films I have delisted. I have produced a ton more video content than what the public gets to see.

11. Musician

I am not just marking musician because I was a professional and semi professional DJ for a large part of my life. I also play keyboards, guitar and drums. In fact I devoted more time and energy into playing the drums than any other musical endeavor. Hand me a pair of drum sticks and I can jam with any rock, country, folk or blues band out there. I also am a performer in a way.

12. Dancer

I hold this one dearly. On the surface I tell people about my breakdancing. While that was a thing which did dominate a portion of my life i’s not all the dancing I do. Ask anyone that has spent time with me one-on-one, including my girlfriend, and they will tell you I am pretty much always dancing. I blast the tunes in my car while I dance along to my destination. I also can do some ballet moves and other more traditional forms of dance I practice by myself but rarely demonstrate. 

13. Queer woman

This is tied to my trans identity but separate from it in a way. I am queer. I do not hide from that. I own it. I broadcast it. I enjoy sharing it with other queers. This is a part of my identity I always held near and dear to my heart but kept it largely secret for the biggest part of my life. 

14. child

Once a son, today a daughter like sibling child was a part of my identity from birth, obviously. Also like being a sibling I do take my responsibilities to my family quite seriously. I enjoy being a daughter and granddaughter to those who let me be in their lives. 

15. Computer nerd

I don’t really keep up with processors, RAM and video cards like I USED to but I am no less a computer nerd today than I was when I was a child.  I wanted a computer so badly as a kid I used to take my Transformers toys and turn them into make-shift computers. I was thrilled beyond words when my parents got me a Smith-Corona electronic word processor because to me it was as close to a computer as I could get at the time. I spent all my free time in the library at school playing on the computer. I was the first person in my family to buy my own computer separate from the family computer we did eventually get. I used to be able to build them from scratch. I used to repair them for others. I even used to dabble quite extensively in hacking as well as surfing the dark web for illegal pirate content in another life. I never stopped thinking of myself as a computer nerd. I sometimes get offended when others don’t recognize my passion for computers because it is such a huge part of my identity.

16. Comic book fan

I read comic books. I collect comic books. I play comic book themed video games, own comic book action figures and yes I even have trading cards based on comic book properties. I love comics. I am beyond fascinated by comics culture and the stories contained within the comics I enjoy. I have slowed down a bit lately because life has gotten busier than ever before but my comics collection continues to grow ever larger. 

17. Transformers collector

Yes I already said I collect toys. While I have opened it up to all types of toys lately, I have always been and always will be a Transformers collector first and foremost. I have over 300 toys, more than half of them are Transformers. Even among the toys that are not Hasbro branded toys I have other types of transforming robot toys ranging from Power Rangers zords to Gundam kits plus a ton of Gobots including several Rock Lords. I love Transformers. I love transforming robot toys. I even love robots in general.

18. Cat mom

This one comes and goes. I currently (s)mother the crap out of my furbaby Buddy. I coddle, cuddle, hug, nuzzle and snuggle him on a near constant basis. I baby the crap out of that little guy.

19. Star Wars fan

I love Star Wars. I don’t idolize everything that gets made under the umbrella but the stuff I do indulge is a huge part of who I am. Star Wars is by far my favorite movie of all time I often swap it back and forth with A Nightmare on Elm Street but it’s always been Star Wars. I love the books, comics, toys, video games and so much more. I even have the Star Wars Customizable Card Game made by Decipher back in the 90s. I love Star Wars. I don’t get into petty arguments of what is real Star Wars, I love the stuff I like, respect the stuff I don’t and celebrate it all equally. 

20. Horror fan

This one is obvious. Again my favorite movie of all time is A Nightmare on Elm Street when it isn’t Star Wars. I watch a lot of horror movies. I collect horror toys and memorabilia. I play horror video games. I talk about and think about horror a lot. 

There you have it twenty different aspects of my personality you can pin on me as answer to the question who I am. The real answer is I am Stephanie Bri and that’s all that matters.

What being diagnosed with bipolar means to my life going forward

I remember watching G.I. Joe A Real American Hero cartoon back in my childhood. It wasn’t one of my favorite tv shows but I distinctly remember watching it as it usually came on right after Transformers. Each episode ended with a public service announcement that included the tagline “knowing is half the battle.”

Today I increased my knowledge by a lot. I have been facing a demon for several years I couldn’t quite put a name to. Several years ago an inexperienced college therapist student diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder. She based in on my symptoms and the information I gave her at the time. Obviously as I was still hiding in the closet in regards to my transgender queer identity she didn’t have all the information. Thus the diagnosis was incomplete and not very helpful.

Fast forward to today. After months of intense emotional swings I finally hit rock bottom. I sunk into the deepest low I have faced in ages. This resulted in me quitting my job which continued the downward spiral I was on. Yesterday I couldn’t get out of bed I was literally too depressed to move. I haven’t been that down in a very long time. That prompted me to call the crisis line on the back of my insurance card. Fortunately the counselor recognized my need for answers. She helped schedule me an appointment with a mental health professional who gave me the answers I was seeking.

Today I learned I have bipolar disorder. It is a mental heath disease I have apparently been facing, largely alone, nearly my entire life. Once she was confident in her diagnosis she began giving me treatment options that included medication she wanted me to try. I have spent the last several hours reading up on the disorder on various websites and forums. My god here I am reading other people’s accounts and I could swap their names with my own and those stories fit damn near perfectly. Everything makes more sense now. Everything is so much clearer.

Even though I had previously been told I had PTSD, anxiety and depression, my newest professional supporter pointed out those were symptoms. She also pointed out that BPD and Bipolar share similar symptoms which is why she felt my previous counselor misdiagnosed me. Having a family history cemented it for her for sure.

Now that I have ready what others describe their own experiences I can rest a little easier. I am still in the lows of my depressive episode right now, that isn’t likely to subside anytime soon if past episodes are any indicator. Yet somehow finally having an answer, name I can attach to my demons, gives me a tremendous sense of relief. When she told me it was bipolar she said it unflinchingly. In that exact moment I burst into tears. Not because I was sad or depressed but because I was relieved to have confirmation. I now have an action plan which gives me hope for a better life.

The mere fact I have suffered with this disease for over 30 years of my life is surely a testament to my resolve. Upon reading the list of symptoms across multiple sources I felt I was reading a checklist of my entire life. Every mood swing I have had, every crazy adventure or quest I have sprung into over night, every single wild and crazy idea I half-baked then jumped into knee deep unprepared, now makes sense.

My entire life has been rebranded yet again. Fortunately I now know what to call my enemy. As Duke and friends used to say “knowing is half the battle.” I fought the first half in the dark, alone for decades. Now I can win this fight knowing who my enemy is.

Why I reconnected the cord I cut over a decade ago?

Why cable? Why pay for cable more like it in 2021 right? I hear people make snide remarks about cable companies all the time. So why did I, a techie who cut the cord in 2009 now sitting here watching TV through my cable box rather than just streaming what I find on Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc.?  There’s a rational explanation that doesn’t include nostalgia hardly at all.

I tried streaming only. All that time while working on the broadcast news media industry. Despite knowing there was loads of locally produced plus one time live content airing on networks that never show up on streaming services, I kept towing the line. The cult of digital is far reaching, over bearing, uses strong, harsh language to harass and guilt people into following them down the rabbit hole yet here I am finding more enjoyment out of watching live TV than I have gotten out of streaming old shows long syndicated or so-called exclusive shows I often find for sale on DVD for dirt cheap at Walmart.

There’s something else at play here. I want to dive into this a little deeper. When I left cable behind it wasn’t for the often cited reasons people in the digital cult proclaim. I was already well versed and neck deep n piracy at that time. Money wasn’t the issue. I signed up for Netflix day one as soon as streaming plans were available. I was there the first day Hulu offered public access. I had Disney+ and HBO Max pre-ordered and pre-installed before launch. I bought into the digital streaming cult hook, line and sinker. Until I found the cracks.

It started last year while working for a local CBS affiliate. I started noticing how much content was being produced on a local level going out live over the air that wasn’t streaming. While the company I worked for scrambled to launch it’s own streaming platform to compete in that space I realized how much good, quality content I was getting for free over the air. I was close enough to receive Dallas stations, on a clear day that is, so I hooked up the antenna and picked up the local channels. I found I was getting access to more shows I enjoyed watching, for free, than the stuff I was finding among all the various streaming apps I watched. There are a host of shows that just can’t be found streaming.

It is no secret live sports is difficult to get on most streaming platforms. Another type of content severely lacking from most streaming services, news shows, late night comedy shows and day time morning talk shows, all content I found myself enjoying quite a bit but having to break up into bite sized chunks on YouTube. I did this for over a decade before I remembered for a mere $40 a month I could just get a cable box, a DVR and all the shows I wanted 24/7. Yes you have to “put up with” commercials but that’s not such a bad deal when you remember advertisements sometimes do help people discover, or remember, products and services they otherwise might not have known about or forgotten.

The real kicker was the day I started going through the hoops to sign up for a YouTube TV account. The notion the digital crowd proclaimed as the solution to getting “live TV” was pay $60 a month for YouTube TV, it’s the same thing as cable they proclaimed. I tried it out. It was not the same thing as cable. In fact it wasn’t an enjoyable experience at all. It was YouTube but different. Not what I wanted. I keep getting harassed to try YouTube premium. Not interested in that either.

I am not against content being behind a paywall. I am not opposed to sifting through some advertisements to offset the cost of production. As a professional who spent years working in the TV industry with aspirations to work for a network talk show someday I realized I was missing out on the shows I wanted to watch, all because I was stuck in syndicated rerun land the Streaming apps enticed me with. This really sunk in when I noticed everything I was watching on Netflix were TV shows I already had on DVD, as in old shows they picked up. Sure I would catch and DO enjoy some originals. I love Stranger Things, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Cooking with Paris, among many others. But with the transphobia situation around Netflix I was okay cutting ties with that company, at least for now.

Two days after hooking up my DVR I have already consumed more quality produced live content than the entire 11+ years I tried to make the digital “cord cutting” work. I proclaimed it myself. Get an antenna for OTA local broadcasts. Get a Tivo DVR and stream your “cable” shows via Netflix, HBO Max, etc. Then I realized. Why should I wait a day or two to watch Smackdown on Hulu when I can catch it live over the air? Why watch reruns of Wheel of Fortune on Netflix when I could watch current episodes as they air? What about Big Brother? The Today Show? Ellen? So many talk shows, news shows and similar content just flat not available on streaming platforms.

I didn’t start out in news. My first TV job was producing a daytime talk show, classified as newsmagazine by IMDb. It was a local show reminiscent of Good Morning America. My evening show I produced was called Good Evening Nebraska. It was hardly a stale boring live local news show. It was a more exciting local show that mixed typical news format with other types of stories and content you see on late night shows.

I fell in love with live TV when I was a kid. I loved working in the live TV business. Yes I know local TV is news-centric because that’s what pays the bills. But so much content exists that isn’t news. Speaking of news, you notice how little live news actually exists on those streaming apps? Not that it doesn’t entirely but it’s hard to find. I am not talking just the 24 hour news commentary you find on CNN, MSNBC or Fox News. I am talking about the live nightly news you miss out on. Oh sure you can stream individual stories or segments of The CBS Evening News, or NBC Nightly News. But you can’t watch the LIVE newscast as it happens, on any streaming service.

Having worked in live television there is a thrill the professionals working behind the scenes gets from putting their blood, sweat and years (LITERALLY!) into bringing their local audience a live, entertaining broadcast. So much of that goes unwatched if you cut the cord entirely. Sure you can get some OTA channels and a DVR but you still miss out on so much other odds and ends stuff. Plus the syndication rights that aren’t bogged down by weird exclusive streaming contracts allows me to record and revisit favorites like The Big Bang Theory, Saved by the Bell, Friends and even more obscure shows not currently streaming anywhere. My DVR reached 20 percent full within a day. I forgot how much quality content is available exclusively via cable. I have no regrets going back. I only regret all the amazing content I missed out on that I will have to wait ten years or more to find pop up on whatever replaces Youtube down the road. Not to mention all the entertaining locally produced commercials your local area businesses produce. That itself qualifies as quality content in it’s own right. I missed having cable. I can even have cable and keep my favorite streaming apps. It doesn’t have to be an either or, why can’t we have both?