February started with a trip to West Egg and MoDA and a subsequent pitstop at Gusto! on my way home. I had been craving this meal for weeks (the have thee absolute best sweet potato chips, ever), and I was so anxious to get here that I paid $2 for street parking even though it took less than five minutes to place my order, pick it up and walk back to my car. The worst part? There was a free parking lot behind the building, and I had no idea.

Other things I did this month:

Once upon a time, Shazam did not exist; iPhones did not exist, and internet access was not just a pocketdial away. This was an archaic time, a time when you called a phone number to hear what movies were showing in your area (770-333-3456 for Atlanta), and Moviefone made you wait patiently for those titles at the end of the alphabet - those showtimes were always listed last, and unless you had extra daytime minutes to spare, you saved that call for nights and weekends.

Background Info
This was the movie-going era in which I came of age - when I started crafting my own opinions on different genres (Horror? Yes! Sci-Fi? Bleh.) and making sense of all the elements that factor into a great film: cinematography, editing, script, direction, score/soundtrack, acting, et cetera. Often times, I find the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The acting may be phenomenal, but the narrative makes no sense (looking at you, Tarentino), or the cinematography and editing are flawless but the character development falls flat. The part that has always grabbed my attention most and, quite frankly, acts as glue for all these components is the music.

If the movie is a three-layer cake, the score and soundtrack are the icing in the middle of each layer and the part that smooths it all together on the outside. Sharp, dissonant notes are singlehandedly responsible for every cheap jump-scare in most scary movies, and if it were not for that stringed background track weaving its way around your heart during those sad scenes, nobody would ever have cried during The Notebook (2004).

In my opinion, a good score complements the story like a shadow: sometimes you forget it is there, but it should definitely be there. On the other hand, the soundtrack of a movie has always been more in-your-face (ears) for me. The first soundtrack I ever owned was the Pocahontas Soundtrack; my age was still in the single digits. I asked my dad to buy me the movie, so he requested our local Blockbuster Video order a copy (am I showing my real age yet?), but they accidentally ordered the soundtrack instead, so I just kept it. It was also the first CD I ever owned, and I wore that thing out, casting all my cassette tapes aside in favor of those Disney-inspired melodies. When adolescence hit, I became too cool for such childish things and moved on, as one does.

Fast Forward
I was re-triggered some years later, like someone had flipped a switch in my brain. I distinctly remember sitting at the end of Seven Pounds (2008) to find the name of the artist who covered Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" in an earlier scene - it was Muse, and their cover is still one of my favorites. This was during the aforementioned pre-Shazam era, before post-credit scenes were made popular by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I became the weirdo who had to wait until the very last of the credits rolled to find the name of a song I heard during a movie, and whomever I was with had to patiently wait with me, because it was that serious, and that's where the song credits appear: at the absolute very end.

Before that, if I was at home and heard a song on tv, I would write down a few of the lyrics and Google them later, from our desktop computer, using dial-up. DIAL. UP. Needless to say, it was a tedious process. It is thankfully much easier now. I still Google the lyrics, but from my handy-dandy cellular device, like how I did in this instance.

So, yeah. Songs in movies have always been a big deal for me. It lowkey sparked my interest in writing because while I do love stories, I especially love a song that tells a good story, particularly when paired well in film. Film storytelling is infinitely better when matched with good music: circular reasoning case closed.

Views from the roof at Nine Mile Station, atop Ponce City Market.

I have a whole category dedicated to love on this blog, yet I hardly update it.

There was a time when I wrote about love like it was going out of style, like there was literally nothing else in the world to write about. My favorite verse explains how God is love, one of my best college essays broke down the etymology of love, and each tattoo on my body was inspired by my love for someone or something. I was no hopeless/ful romantic, I never pined for a boy who did not return the feelings (or at the very least, a phone call), but I always appreciated the many facets of love and how it could change people in the most drastic ways.

Flash forward a few years, and my fire for writing about the topic has dwindled, which is strange considering my love life is nothing short of wholly fulfilling (not perfect, as you'll see below, but definitely fulfilling). I look around at my small-but-might social circle and think I did pretty well for myself. I have such an intense love for every friend of mine, and I harbor no ill feelings toward any family members. Many people out there cannot make these claims, and I am grateful for this level of love-related satisfaction.

So today, as I was scrolling and rolling my eyes at all the Valentine-inspired posts in my newsfeed, I had to stop and check myself. Am I really annoyed by all the How I Made Peace with Being Single and Why It's Okay to Be Single on Valentine's Day posts or do I just really expect more than these cliched articles from 21st century journalism sites these days? The former is true, but the latter is truer (it is also true that the curse came just in time to rain on my personal V-Day parade, so that may be the real root of my irritation). Then my inner dialogue went something like this:
Me: You cannot complain about the lack of good Valentine articles when you rarely even post good love stuff on your own blog anymore.
Also me: You know what? You right. [sic]
Also, also me: Maybe you should fix that.
Me: ...
And then I kept scrolling my newsfeed, because honestly, I have no love-themed inner reflections to contribute or a soapbox to spill onto a blank page at the moment. What I can share, is a different kind of inner dialogue - not the kind that goes on in my head, but the kind that goes on between two people who are (as previously mentioned) wholly fulfilled in their relationship.

The inspiration is above; the execution is below.

Every now and then, I come across really well-written pieces on the interwebs and get the urge to share. There are so many vapid pieces floating around these days, making it more and more difficult to filter the fluff. Whether it aligns with my viewpoint or not, I only have one rule: it should be thought-provoking. The following (listed below) were just that. 

Stumbled into plant heaven the other day

I had the extreme pleasure of visiting MoDA with my team at work for a little creative stimuli, and this exhibit was easily one of my favorites, ever. 

Text Me: How We Live in Language, is all about written forms of communication, and how they shape our interactions, relationships, perspectives and personal identity. The show ends in a few days, which is unfortunate, because I honestly needed a few more visits to fully absorb and better appreciate these pieces (two hours was not enough!).

Here are a few of my favorites.

*Note to self: take more pictures next time.
© the active spirit. +